February 25th, 2010
05:20 PM ET
13 years ago

Analysts: Health summit a 'stunt' and 'spectacle'

Washington (CNN) - Heated partisan exchanges and in-depth policy discussions at the bipartisan health care summit on Thursday are unlikely to sway both parties in finding common ground, analysts said as the summit was going on.

One said the summit makes an argument against televising hearings. Another said it will reinforce doubts about whether Washington can resolve the health care impasse.

"I think it's reasonable to expect that an exchange like this is not going to change the public's skepticism about the way Washington works," said Michael Murakami, a visiting professor of government at Georgetown University.

Murakami added that the summit is a "big PR stunt" where "nothing is going to be decided."

"This is just the two sides putting their view in front of the media so they can try and rally their support as the legislative battle begins."

Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said the summit "wasn't much more than a TV spectacle."

"Only the infirm or unemployed could have possibly sat home and watched it all," said Brinkley, a professor of history at Rice University. "Instead, what everybody will see tonight on news broadcasts are the sparks of tension between [President] Obama and [Sen. John] McCain. It's like the 2008 election never ended."

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Filed under: Health care
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. Dan

    A 5 th grader can see that if You lower cost it still won't cover Millions of americans. As Rep how do U cover the rest to keep cost down!

    February 25, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  2. GOP

    Seems to me the GOP had the ideas,many ideas,smart ideas.The dems just want to muscle their entitlement mentality on America.Bring on the Democrat welfare queens and babies dropping like candy and we pay for it.

    February 25, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  3. Four and The Door

    Hey, this is the most "reaching out" Obama has done since taking office. Not much, was it? Bipartisanship should start at the top. Americans can expect no hope for this until we send him a whole House and Senate full of Republicans. They're coming.

    February 25, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  4. Bill

    So let me get this straight:

    A) We want transparency and will complain when negotiations are conducted privately, not publicly.

    B) When negotiations are public, we complain that negotiations are a "spectacle".

    C) Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?

    February 25, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  5. Bob

    I totally disagree with this CNN report by Ed Hornick. The health care discussion today is perhaps the most important issue facing America today. Medicare, by itself, is an unfunded $38 trillion dollar liability, which, if nothing is done. Will break our nation in 8 years. TO DO NOTHING IS UNNACCEPTABLE.....This summit provided the American people with the facts and philosophies of both sides of the aisle. To say that this is merely a PR stunt is probably the most inane comment I have read so far, unless of course you are a CNN reporter that is too lazy or politically motivated to report on the facts that came out of this meeting...

    February 25, 2010 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Gee you think!! Of course its a stunt the Liberals are going to ram this monstrosity through and this summit is just a show for the yes we can sheep that they tried to compromise. How did they try to compromise. Holding a summit to talk about how your going to not compromise isn't listening to all ideas. If you want something screwed up find an American hating liberal to run it.

    February 25, 2010 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  7. jules sand-perkins

    I commented before the "summit" that the President would provide a four-ring circus.
    That's exactly what it was.

    February 25, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    To Mr Brinkey- I am self employed and watch as much as the news networks would allow.
    What I witnessed is a first half of talking heads and the after lunch portion a bit more constructive.
    As Republicans made their point, the President gave consession to their remarks. The congressional Demcrats in the room however
    seemed to to be resisting any change.
    Work together people! WE NEED REFORM!

    February 25, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  9. laurie

    John McCain was just out and out rude to the President. Why doesn't he try to help instead of trying to undermine the process.... Windbag comes to mind.

    February 25, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  10. VAVoter

    There we have it...American public and political discourse is DEAD!...Yesterday people were complaining that all of the health care disucssions and debates were held behind closed doors and not in public view. Today, the same are complaining that the debate was a "spectacle"....THAT'S THE POINT OF A SPECTACLE....it is something that can be seen or viewed. What you saw is the same wrangling and haggling that you would have seen on the Senate/House floor. I believe the President did this to SHOW the American people how petty, partisan and unyeilding the Repubicans are....and true to themselves they did not dissapoint. We WILL have a health care bill and the Republicans will have to explain to the millions of voters who previously did not have insurance or who were in danger of losing their insurance why they chose not to work toward a solution.

    February 25, 2010 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  11. Leslie Jack

    (Sorry, but the previous post I made had the wrong name included and is attempted to be corrected here in this one)
    Any information that might change some minds is not a spectacle, when they get information which they didn't have before. Obviously Mr. Brinkley's mind is already made up and he doesn't wish to hear more information on the subject.

    February 25, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  12. Cindy Merrill

    I don't think seniors will be impressed: Notice the fact that a top official fro CANADA had to come to the US for heathcare: This is the model that Democrats want for us?

    February 25, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  13. Simon Shuster

    That's funny. You have democrats and republicans having an indepth discussion on health care reform. While I could not watch it, the consensus from the panels seems to be that it was an intelligent debate, albeit not a bipartisan effort. Talking is always good. Sniping is infuriating. It's a start, so get positive.

    February 25, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  14. Padraig

    Mr. Murakami has hit the nail on the head. Wish someone would do similar to "fearless leader" and want to be "fearless leader".

    I think the Minnesota governor was correct, "fearless leader" should have invited various state governors to this meeting.

    February 25, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  15. Scott L


    Man I cannot wait for Pelosi, Reid and Obama to use reconciliation.

    The smart senators will NOT go along and get 51 votes.

    Those that do and are up for re-election in November are basically signing their resignation papers.

    It is gonna be awesome to wipe them out in November elections!

    February 25, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  16. Michael from Ventura

    Hopefully this meeting showed Americans of all parties that one party is obstructing progress and the other wants CHANGE. John McCain and his ridiculous "show" was worth a thousand words! I'm sure America is thankful that they didn't elect him to the Oval Office. That's the real problem here- They don't seem to realize yet that the election is over and THEY LOST BIG TIME!!

    February 25, 2010 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  17. Old White Virginia Female

    What a narrow view of what transpired! I thought if anyone was really interested in the real divergence of views it showed them very clearly and, best of all, civilly. Probably not much fun for the media because there were not a lot of sparks or moments of nastiness, but if anyone took the time to listen, I think you came away from here agreeing with the President's summation. Time to move on to a vote and let the elections take care of the outcome. I am just very, very sorry that there will be no vote in the Senate on the public option. I think each of these Senators should have to face the music on their vote on that, but it will not happen.

    February 25, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  18. jp,michigan

    Obama and his chosen democrats have no intention of changing anything in the health-care bill. Republicans gave the American people to see exactly how congress and white house works when there is a one party system. Harry Reid stated,"We have talked about reconciliation to pass this bill." How soon we forget, Pelosi and Obama will use it as well as Reid. Grassroot Americans are disappointed in the dog and pony show put on by Obama.

    February 25, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  19. Mike in MN

    The trillion dollar question is did today's summit flip the majority of voters from opposing Obamacare to supporting it? Time will tell.
    Going into today about a dozen polls all showed a majority of voters opposed to Obamacare. Other polls also showed a majority of voters wanting the current bills killed and for Congress to start over on a new bipartisan bill and also that a majority of voters are opposed to Democrats using reconciliation to pass Obamacare.
    If the summit does not flip voter support, will there be enough Democrats to vote for Obama care without voter support or any Republican votes? The odds are against it I believe.

    February 25, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  20. Michael

    "nothing is going to be decided"? You don't think this might be because the gop is completely opposed to solving the problem, do you? That this passes for "analysis" is what is truely suprising.

    February 25, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  21. Mesa Mick

    Listening to the rethugs all day long it's apparent to them the problem of fixing all the health care problems including run away costs in the US is pretty simple...

    Tort Reform and don't get sick...

    February 25, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  22. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    I watched most of today' summit. I found it informative, though frustrating, to view.

    First of all, the Republicans came across as having their minds made up. I didn't find anything they offered to be of substance. Senator McCain embarrassed himself by rehashing the election rather than offer any solution.

    President Obama came across as intelligent, thoughtful, respectful and, above all, patient!

    Don't know if the seven hours produced anything, but it was interesting to view. By the way, folks, tune into C-Span and you can watch the whole thing without pundits trying to explain everything. I'd be lost without C-Span!

    February 25, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  23. They call me "tater salad"

    Sad to say but, while America slowly crumbles like the last cookie in the jar all these CLOWNS on BOTH SIDES of the aisle seem to want to do is play Cowboys and Indians, and hold endless popularity contests and election campaigns 24/7..........Has anyone seen my flaming torch and pitchfork? I think i feel a "storm the castle moment" coming on!!!!!!!!!!

    February 25, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  24. David

    People can watch it online and it's not a waste of time. It's an opportunity for the public to hear both sides of the story without spin and lies from pundits who's goals are to boost ratings or push an agenda (Faux News for example).

    Aside from performances from people like Congressman Boehner which was truly an embarassment to his party, the discussion was relatively factual. It's a good start and maybe people will actually take the time to read the darn bills rather than just listening to one line sound bites. People support the bills once they know the truth about what's in them.

    February 25, 2010 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  25. David

    Hornick all you do is criticize the President and

    February 25, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
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