Obama and Republicans: Who Will Blink First?

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
The view of yesterday's health care summit is one of deep division, according to CBS News chief White House correspondent Bill Plante. One thing Democrats and Republicans could agree during the 7 ½-hour meeting on is that the health care system in the United States needs repair.

But that's about as far as it got.

"If this 7 1/2 hours showed anything yesterday, it showed us just how deep the divide is on a good part of this," CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer said on "The Early Show." "So I don't think there is going to be bipartisanship." In fact, he added, Democrats will probably move forward on their own.

But Schieffer predicts that if Democrats try to pass legislation in a reconciliation bill (which would obviate any chance of a Republican filibuster), it would come at an enormous cost by prompting the GOP to become the Party of No Way. "Republicans will just go crazy about this," he said, "and I think they that will vow to tie up the Senate on every other single issue that comes before it this year.

"The Democrats by the same token will be saying, 'Okay, go ahead and try to do that and see what the voters think of that and, as the president said, then we'll sort it all out in November.'

"So I don't see much coming out of this right now — I think the divide is still there."

"This is basically the president taking all the chips, putting them in the middle of the table, saying 'I'm all in on this deal, we're going to pass this health care the way it is. I will risk my presidency, I will risk the fall elections on this one issue come hell or high water.' Am I reading that right?" asked "Early Show" anchor Harry Smith.

"I think you're right," said Schieffer, "and he is basically daring the Republicans to do the same thing. He's saying, 'OK, use whatever tactics you can to try to tie this thing up, let's see what the voters think about it.'

"But here's the other part in all this, Harry: I'm not sure at this moment that there are enough votes in the House of Representatives to pass what the president wants to do, because there are still very big disagreements between Democrats within the House and between Democrats in the House and the Senate.

"So I just see trouble ahead."

More Coverage of the Health Care Summit:

Marc Ambinder: The Summit was a Tie -- And That's Good News for GOP
Both Sides Dig in Heels at Health Care Summit
Will the Summit Impact Health Reform?
At Health Care Summit, More Pomp than Pith
Live Blog: Hotsheet Tracked the Whole Summit Point by Counterpoint
Fact Check: The Health Care Summit
Reaction and Analysis on Washington Unplugged
Photos: The Health Care Summit
All Hotsheet Coverage

  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.