In an interview during the Super Bowl pre-game show yesterday, President Obama announced his plan for a bipartisan health care summit that would be broadcast on TV later this month.
Using the annual platform of hundreds of millions viewers that the Super Bowl provides, Obama said, “I want to ask them to put their ideas on the table, and then after the recess … I want to come back and have a large meeting, the Republicans and Democrats, to go through systematically all the best ideas that are out there and move forward.”
The interview, conducted by CBS anchor Katie Couric and broadcast from the White House Library, touched on many of Obama’s major legislative initiatives, including regulations on the financial industry, health care reform, and his proposed jobs bill.
Asked about the stalled reconciliation between the House and Senate versions of the health care bill, Obama stressed that he was not giving up on health care reform, but instead trying to, once again, reach across the aisle.
“Look, I would have loved nothing better than to simply come up with some very elegant, academically approved approach to health care…and just go ahead and have that passed,” he said. “But that’s just not how it works in our democracy.”
In response, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said that his party would be happy to meet with Obama if the Democrats are willing to scrap the current versions of the bill and start from scratch.
“The fact is Senate Republicans held hundreds of town halls and met with their constituents across the country last year on the need for health care reform, outlining ideas for the step-by-step approach that Americans have asked for,” McConnell said. “And we know there are a number of issues with bipartisan support that we can start with when the 2,700-page bill is put on the shelf.”