FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
It was a campaign promise of President Obama's - and he's taken a lot of heat for not following through.
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Well, Mr. Obama now says he plans to hold a televised, bipartisan health care meeting on February 25. This move toward transparency comes after the president got strong reviews on the televised question-and-answer session he held with Republicans recently.
President Obama says he wants to go through "all the best ideas" that are out there on health care - including those of Republicans - and move forward with reform.
Leaders of both parties are praising the move - but Republicans say they want to start from scratch on health care reform, something the president says he won't do. Also, some worry this live, televised, half-day meeting will only prolong the process - the Democrats already have plenty of disagreements among themselves in the two versions of the bill.
Since the Democrats' loss of Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts Senate seat, White House officials have been sending mixed messages on health care; saying they might break the bill into smaller parts, or keep it all together, or hold off on action; or just "punch it through" Congress.
Meanwhile it's not clear how much the president's offer to open up the health care meetings will matter this late in the game. A lot of Americans have been turned off by the secret, closed-door nature of negotiations. They expected more from the candidate who vowed to broadcast it all on C-Span. And, don't forget, this televised meeting would probably never happen if Republican Scott Brown wasn't the newest Senator from Massachusetts.
Here’s my question to you: Is Pres. Obama’s plan for a televised, bipartisan health care meeting too little, too late?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Jeff in Houston writes:
You heard it here first, Jack. The Republicans will back out at the last minute. The moment they are backed into a corner by a well-spoken, educated man – who actually cares about people other than wealthy whites, someone that does not pray at the altar of money while pretending to pray at the altar of Christianity – they will not want to attend. And besides, Obama uses all those big words they do not understand.
Lia in Florida writes:
Actually, Jack, this is a brilliant idea! Instead of rumors, grapevine guessing, or blatant lies passed through the mainstream media and congressional websites, the public will get to witness for themselves just who's looking out for whom. Should prove to be a real eye-opener for the party die-hards on both sides.
Of course it's too late. If our president and congressional leaders really wanted to have an openly-debated and negotiated health care bill, they could have and would have done it. This is all just political theater, what a bunch of nonsense.
Marion in Birmingham, Alabama writes:
How can the GOP debate when they have been shut out of all the meetings and behind-door secret deals and briberies for votes?
Steve in Philadelphia writes:
It's just another PR stunt from the propaganda machine. Obama got caught in a campaign lie, and now they're trying to mend the wound.
Jack, No matter how you phrase the question, it is still better to have a president who is trying to do something, than one who does nothing. No matter how late in the game health care reform is done, it will be just in time to save someone's life; and that person will be thankful for reform even if you and your Republican friends are not.