I just finished watching much of President Obama's session with Republican members of the House of Representatives at their retreat in Baltimore. It was truly remarkable -- it was televised live on television (although FOX news apparently decided to cut away before it was over), and the President fielded GOP questions with a deft and deep knowledge that was truly remarkable. He left no doubt -- he has read the Republican proposals. He has considered their ideas. He has incorporated some of them into his proposals. He could not possibly have taken them and their questions any more seriously. Indeed, he spent more than 20 minutes after the session ended (already 15 minutes late) shaking hands, signing autographs, posing for photographs -- amazing.
What the President said over and over is that the Republicans have to work with him. They can't just oppose everything he proposes because it was his idea. In other words, he really confronted my claim in my post about the State of the Union address that he was naive about bipartisanship. He made it clear that he's not naive, that it's something he strives for, but it's something that can never happen unless the Republicans decide to give up some ground.
There were all kinds of Twitter feeds in the background on Huffington Post, where the session was streamed live. Nobody could think of any other occasion in which a sitting President has taken questions on live television from members of the opposing party. And everyone agreed that it should happen more often.
i can't help wondering, after that incredibly impressive performance, whether the Republicans will invite President Obama to do this again in the future. Jennifer
P.S. - you can read about it here or watch it tonight at 8 pm on C-Span.