Even Before Summit, Republicans Declared It A Failure

February 25, 2010 3:16 pm ET

Today the president is hosting a bipartisan, bicameral health care summit at the Blair House in hopes of finding the common ground between Republicans and Democrats.  Yet even before the summit had started, Republicans were publicly deriding it as a useless photo-op.

Even Before Summit, RNC Sent Email Blasting Summit As "Photo-Op"

RNC Email Referred To White House Health Summit As "Photo-Op." As reported by the Plum Line's Greg Sargent, the night before the White House Health Summit, the Republican National Committee sent an email to supporters saying, "After pledging to listen to Republican ideas at this Thursday's photo op- er, 'bipartisan health care summit,' President Obama has decided to stick with the Senate Democrats' health care legislation, a bill that Americans have already rejected as a massive restructuring of our economy that is a short walk down the road to government run health care. He's rejected alternative methods of tackling our health insurance crisis before hearing them. He's betrayed the American people's trust." [Plum Line, 2/25/10]

Even Before Summit, Republican Attendees Spoke Disparagingly Of Summit

Sen. Mitch McConnell:

"We're happy to be there, but I'm not quite sure what the purpose is... It seems to me the president's already made up his mind." [Austin Statesman, 2/23/10]

"I think it's nearly impossible to imagine a scenario under which we could reach an agreement." [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/24/10]

Sen. Jon Kyl:

"Democrats have already decided on the so-called nuclear option... If that's the case... then obviously it's pointless to talk because they made up their mind and they will ram it through whether we like it or whether the American people like it." [Huffington Post, 2/14/10]

Rep. John Boehner:

"We shouldn't let the White House have a six-hour taxpayer-funded infomercial on ObamaCare... We need to show up We need to crash the party." [Politico, 2/23/10]

"This so-called summit is a charade. The Democrats clearly want us to boycott...I don't think we should take the bait." [Politico, 2/23/10]

Rep. Eric Cantor:

"Here's the problem: unless the President and Speaker Pelosi are willing to scrap their government take over and hit the reset button, there's not much to talk about." [Plum Line, 2/8/10]

Rep. Joe Barton:

"I still hope that the Blair House meeting can produce evidence that the administration is getting interested in increasing competition and cutting costs, but for now it looks like the President is stuck on his idea that what sick people need is more government.  If nothing changes by Thursday, the President risks turning a signature issue into a signature failure." [Barton.House.Gov, 2/22/10]

Even Before It Ended, Summit Attendee Sen. Barrasso Derided It As "Political Theater"

Sen. John Barrasso:

"The president seems to be taking up a lot of time in making his points countering anything that others have to say and then also having the Democrats as well, so it does seem that it's a little bit of a political theater going on." [MSNBC, 2/25/10]

Even Before It Ended, Summit Attendee Rep. Barton Criticized It On YouTube

Rep. Joe Barton:

Well, we're having a good discussion with the president.  I think it's obvious that he really doesn't want to listen to the Republican ideas or the Republican concerns about House and Senate bills and the president's proposals. [Barton YouTube account, 2/25/10]

Even Before Summit Ended, Rep. Pence Declared It A Failure

Rep. Mike Pence:

"Well, my impression is that, you know, this isn't good government, it's bad TV. I mean the reality is that, you know, while we were promised a serious negotiation where the president a few weeks ago said that he was gonna bring various parties together and look for areas of common agreement, you know, what we're seeing here from the president forward, is just a restatement of the positions that the administration has taken, the Democrats in the House and Senate have taken and Republicans are doing their level best to try and convey that the American people want this administration and Democrats in Congress to get the message, scrap the bill, and start over with a clean sheet of paper. I gotta tell ya, I'm not impressed with what we're seeing for all the president's repeated, somewhat condescending statements, about, he said to John McCain, 'the campaign is over and we've gotta get away from talking points.' All we've got from the president today is talking points.  All we've got is the president restating the bill that he dumped on the American people on Monday and the American people wanna scrap and move on." [MSNBC, 2/25/10]