A report on the health care summit on Friday's CBS Early Show featured a clip of President Obama scolding lawmakers for "trading talking points" during the meeting, that was followed by correspondent Bill Plante pointing a finger at the GOP: "But from their first speaker, Republicans never backed down from their opposition to the Democrats' bill."
Plante noted that "John McCain, the President's opponent In 2008, challenged the process by which the Democrats' bill was produced." After a clip was played of McCain denouncing the lack of change in Washington, Plante touted how "the President shot back," playing a clip of Obama proclaiming "the election is over." Plante also highlighted an exchange in which Obama slammed Senator Lamar Alexander, telling the Tennessee Republican to get his "facts straight."
Oddly, after displaying the President's clearly partisan attacks, Plante concluded: "Democrats emerged from the meeting saying they still want bipartisanship. Republicans said they don't see that happening."
On Thursday's CBS Evening News, White House correspondent Chip Reid described how "exasperated" President Obama was with Republicans, who proved they were the "party of no."
Plante did acknowledge that the summit was ultimately a stalemate: "In the end, it was pretty much a draw. The President at the end seemed to suggest that he would encourage Democrats to pass a health care bill without Republicans, using the legislative tactic known as reconciliation. And then let the voters sort it all out next November."
Following Plante's report, co-host Harry Smith discussed the summit with Face the Nation host Bob schieffer and asked if the Democrats would now "go it alone" on health care reform. Schieffer responded:
I think the Democrats will probably go it alone....go ahead with this process called reconciliation....there is going to be an enormous cost, because Republicans are just going to go crazy about this and I think that 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.
Smith followed up by describing Obama's bold gamble: "This is basically the President saying, 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.'" Schieffer agreed: "I think you're right. And he is basically daring the Republicans to do the same thing."
Neither Schieffer nor Smith seemed to notice a just-released Gallup poll that showed that a majority of Americans, 52%, oppose the use of reconciliation, compared to only 39% who approve of the legislative tactic.