February 8th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Televised health care debate too little, too late?

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?


January 29th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Pres. Obama renews call for bipartisanship. Is he dreaming?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Talking about bipartisanship makes a nice soundbite; but at the end of the day, it's just that: Talk.
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President Obama went into the enemy camp today - going head-to-head for more than an hour at a meeting of House Republicans.

For the most part, it was polite and cordial - how much good it did is an open question.

The President chastised Republicans for opposing him on taxes, health care and the economic stimulus plan. Of the attacks on health care, the president said, "You'd think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot," and "I am not an ideologue."

The Republicans accused Mr. Obama of ignoring their ideas and driving up the debt.

This all follows the State of the Union speech, where President Obama renewed calls for bipartisanship.

The number two House leader, Congressman Eric Cantor, says the president's address to Congress was full of "rhetoric and lecturing." Cantor says he appreciated the offer of bipartisanship, but that Republicans have heard this before.

But after today's meeting, Cantor said this is the kind of discussion they need to have more of.

Cantor has accused the administration of showing "arrogance in ignoring public opinion," and that Congressional Democrats have been no better when it comes to bipartisanship. He insists the Republicans are open to talking and working with the other party.

We'll see.

Sadly, the current political strategy in Washington for both parties seems to be: "I win if I can make the other guy lose."

Here’s my question to you: President Obama has renewed his call for bipartisanship. Is he dreaming?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


December 4th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Why is there only bipartisanship when military is involved?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Bipartisanship in Washington is virtually non-existent these days - except for President Obama's new strategy for Afghanistan.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/04/art.marines.afghan.gi.jpg caption="U.S. Marines are pictured wading through a canal in Afghanistan's Helmand Province."]
A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll - conducted after the president's speech this week - shows his plan wins approval from 63 percent of Democrats, a whopping 72 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Independents. Gee, with a consensus like that you could actually run the country.

The president is getting thumbs-up from people more inclined to extend their middle fingers when it comes to things Democratic. Karl Rove says that the president's speech "deserves to be cheered" and insists victory is attainable.

Newt Gingrich is out praising President Obama for showing political courage on Afghanistan... in going against the anti-war left in his own party.

This is not to say that there aren't critics of the president's Afghanistan strategy in both parties, but on the whole, he's getting support - at least for now. If it doesn't go as planned, all bets are off. But at least for a few minutes we have the leadership of the country agreeing on something.

And this isn't just about President Obama and Afghanistan. The Democrats had no love lost for President George W. Bush but were mostly afraid to buck him on the wars.

Here’s my question to you: Why is it the only time there is bipartisanship is when the military is involved?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Bipartisanship • US Military
August 20th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Why are Democrats' and Obama's approval ratings falling?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the debate over health care rages on... the American people are increasingly souring on President Obama and the Democrats. A new poll shows the president's approval rating at 51-percent - the lowest of his presidency and down from 61-percent two-months ago.

The Pew poll shows the Democratic Party now has a favorable rating of 49-percent... also down from 59-percent in April and 62-percent in January.

When it comes to the Republican Party - public opinion has remained steady all year at about 40-percent.

Meanwhile it looks like the American people aren't buying into calls for bipartisanship. The poll shows 63-percent of those surveyed say the president and Republicans are not working together on important issues... that's up from 50-percent who felt that way in June.

Although more people blame the Republicans than President Obama for this lack of co-operation, the poll shows a growing number are now faulting the president. 17-percent of Americans say Mr. Obama is to blame... that's up from seven-percent who felt that way in February.

Meanwhile a separate Gallup poll shows the Democratic-led Congress' approval at 31-percent... the lowest reading since February.

With health care eclipsing all else in Washington this summer - it seems as though the president and the Democrats are losing favor with the American people. It will be interesting to see what happens to these numbers if the Democrats decide to "go it alone" like we've been hearing.

Here’s my question to you: Why are the Democrats' and President Obama's approval ratings falling?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


April 6th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

What happened to idea of bipartisanship?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Barack Obama has the biggest partisan gap in his early job approval rating of any president in the last 40 years. A new Pew Research Center poll shows 88 percent of Democrats approve of the president; but only 27 percent of Republicans think he's getting it done. That's a stunning 61 point gap.

Even George W. Bush only had a 51 point partisan gap early in his administration. Of course that was before 9/11 and the phony reasons for invading Iraq. President Clinton had a 45 point gap.

Researchers suggest this growing partisan divide is part of a long-term trend. Looking at early approval ratings for Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon, a majority of Republicans actually approved of Carter's job performance; and a majority of Democrats backed Nixon at similar points in their first terms.

When it comes to President Obama, the partisan gap is especially curious since this is someone who won the election by forming a coalition of voters from across the spectrum. Then-candidate Obama promised to bring a post-partisan brand of politics to Washington; and since his inauguration, the president has made an effort to reach out to Republicans in Congress - meeting with them privately about the economic stimulus bill, inviting them to a White House Super Bowl party, and including them in various on camera meetings at the White House. But apparently it's not working.

Here’s my question to you: What happened to the idea of bipartisanship?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Bipartisanship
February 4th, 2009
05:09 PM ET

How to end bitter divide in Washington?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Despite all the lofty talk during the election about change, hope and ushering in a new era in Washington... most people don't think it's happened.

A new Gallup poll shows only 21% of Americans think the tone between Democrats and Republicans in our nation’s capital has gotten better.

A new Gallup poll shows only 21% of Americans think the tone and "level of civility" between Democrats and Republicans in our nation's capital has gotten better since President Obama came into office last month. 23% think things have gotten worse. More than half – 51%– say it's stayed the same.

The poll also found that Democrats are more likely to say the tone has improved, not surprising since they have one of their own in the White House, while Republicans are more likely to say it's gotten worse. Independents are about evenly split.

Last week's party-line vote in the House of Representatives on the economic stimulus package was the nation's first look at how Washington might operate during the Obama administration... and the partisanship looked a lot like what we saw under President Bush. This vote came despite the president's efforts at bipartisanship – a including a stop on Capitol Hill to meet with Republican leaders and hosting a bipartisan Super Bowl party at the White House. The New York Times reports that Republicans have been scoring invitations to the White House nearly as often as Democrats have. One Republican Congressman who attended the Super Bowl Party says such a meeting "humanizes and personalizes" your opponent and that it helps people put politics aside.

Here’s my question to you: What is your prescription for ending the bitter partisanship in Washington?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


January 26th, 2009
05:55 PM ET

Bipartisanship: Is it already dead?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama had hoped the political capital he won on the campaign trail would pay off in Washington and allow him to push through his emergency stimulus bill without too much hassle. But after less than a week in office he has run headlong into the partisan battles he promised to eliminate in the Nation's Capital.

Eric Holder is sworn in during his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on January 15, 2009. Holder's nomination to be the next Attorney General has been a source of contention between the President and many Republicans.

The new President is facing sharp resistance to his $825-billion stimulus package that the House is expected to consider on Wednesday. Questions about how the money will be spent stand in the way. Not that surprising when you consider the mystery of the $750-billion Wall Street bailout President Bush signed off on last year. We still don't know where a lot of that money went.

President Obama is pulling out all the stops to get everyone on the same page. He's meeting with his economic advisers, talking with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, and continues to tell the American people how bad things are and warn them to brace for things to get worse.

And it's not just the stimulus package the President is having problems with. Republicans are holding up the confirmation of his Attorney General, Eric Holder.

And they can't be thrilled that the new President is signing one executive order after another to undo the policies of his Republican predecessor.

These are all indications that this isn't going to be the smooth sailing President Obama had in mind.

Here’s my question to you: Is the spirit of bipartisanship already dead in Washington?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


January 16th, 2009
01:36 PM ET

Why can’t the two parties work together?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

House Minority Leader John Boehner sent a clear message yesterday to President-elect Obama that he is far from having the support he and the Democrats need to pass the 825 billion dollar emergency stimulus bill.

Why aren't there any Republicans in this photo?

The sticking point: The plan was crafted by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues without Republican input.

Obama has been pushing for bipartisan support and an end to 'politics as usual' in Washington. The country is in the midst of an economic crisis with no end in sight and the President-elect has warned of dire consequences if nothing is done. But Democrats and Republicans seem unable to put their differences aside and work fore the common good.

And it's a little more than egos and arguing for argument sake. Boehner says the Democrats are operating on "the flawed notion that we can borrow and spend our way back to prosperity."

Some conservative Republicans are uncomfortable with the hundreds of billions of dollars of spending in Obama's plan. Some Democrats don't like the amount of spending as compared to tax cuts in the bill, and there's skepticism whether the business tax cuts will really create the jobs they're supposed to.

Here’s my question to you: Why can't the Democrats and Republicans work together instead of against each other?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4 pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: Bipartisanship • Congress