Did Obama Summit Resuscitate Health Care Reform?



On Washington Unplugged Friday, CBS News' John Dickerson and CBS News Political Analyst Marc Ambinder examined the potential impact of Thursday's health care summit.

Following what many see as a last-ditch effort to drum up support for his health care reform plan, the White House is now going working to secure the votes they need to get a health reform bill through Congress. If President Obama feels the votes aren't there he change his strategy, according to Ambinder.

"The White House has done its best to set the agenda," he said, "and there's not much more they can do."

Before the meeting, Republicans fretted that they would not have an equal opportunity to make their case. But Dickerson noted that Mr. Obama gave roughly equal time to Republicans and their Democratic colleagues. (Of course, the president soaked up plenty of time on his own, which wasn't counted in that tally.) Ambinder said Republicans showed up prepared for a fight, and that Mr. Obama is not the type to engage in a war of words.

"This president is simply not the type of president to put his fist down on the table and say, 'This is the way it is going to be,'" said Ambinder.

Ambinder also discussed Congressional strategy, noting Mr. Obama's best bet is to convince Americans that Democrats are exhausting all efforts to be bipartisan. House Democrats, he estimates, need around five more votes to have a chance to pass the Senate bill as it currently stands. In a dream scenario for the Democrats, the House and Senate could simply pass the same bill (the Senate version) and then work to fix it later. But such a scenario is unlikely, and Ambinder doesn't think the Senate bill could pass the House.

"In reality, the politics just aren't there, haven't been there," said Ambinder, "and nothing the White House has done or really can do has changed that."

Watch Friday's Unplugged above, which also features a preview with CBS News Correspondent Wyatt Andrews on his upcoming exclusive concerning veterans being denied health benefits.

"Washington Unplugged" appears live on CBSNews.com each weekday at 12:30 p.m. ET. here to check out previous episodes.



  • Evan Schwartz

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