*President Barack Obama visited a meeting of House Republicans in Baltimore today and proceeded to call out lawmakers in an extended Q&A session that was broadcast live on cable (only because the White House asked GOP leaders to keep the cameras rolling).
The president took questions from a respectful-yet-testy rival party that attempted to challenge him on various issues, most notably health care, the economic stimulus and being labeled as “the party of no.”
Obama said Republican lawmakers have attacked his health care overhaul so fiercely, “you’d think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot.” His proposals are mainstream, widely supported ideas, he said, and they deserve some GOP votes in Congress.
“I am not an ideologue,” the president declared. But Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., pointedly asked Obama: “What should we tell our constituents who know that Republicans have offered positive solutions” for health care, “and yet continue to hear out of the administration that we’ve offered nothing?”
Obama told him that the administration has used some Republican ideas, while others are simply unsustainable when broken down and evaluated by independent experts. Disputing Price’s claim that a Republican plan would insure nearly all Americans without raising taxes, Obama said “That’s just not true,” then went on to explain specifically why the statement was misleading. He called such claims “boilerplate” meant to score political points.
The president also called out lawmakers in the room who used GOP “talking points” to pose their questions, and made multiple requests for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to tamp down the nasty tone that often derails bipartisan solutions to America’s problems.
For those who missed it live, MSNBC will re-broadcast today’s extraordinary Q&A session in its entirety tonight at 8 p.m. Or, scroll down to watch the entire exchange below.