The House Republican Conference Press Office has collected some reviews of the health care summit, from sources that are hardly in the Republican camp. These reviews find that the Republicans did quite well.
CNN’s David Gergen:
The folks in the White House just must be kicking themselves right now. They thought that coming out of Baltimore when the President went in and was mesmerizing and commanding in front of the House Republicans that he could do that again here today. That would revive health care and would change the public opinion about their health care bill and they can go on to victory. Just the opposite has happened
CNN’s Gloria Borger:
The Republicans have been very effective today. They really did come to play. They were very smart.
They took on the substance of a very complex issue. … But they really stuck to the substance of this issue and tried to get to the heart of it and I think did a very good job.
They came in with a plan. They mapped it out.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer:
It looks like the Republicans certainly showed up ready to play.
The Hill’s A.B. Stoddard:
I think we need to start out by acknowledging Republicans brought their ‘A Team.’ They had doctors knowledgeable about the system, they brought substance to the table, and they, I thought, expressed interest in the reform. I thought in the lecture from Senator John McCain and on the issue of transparency, I thought today the Democrats were pretty much on their knees.
One of the problems for President Obama may have been that he had to take on all comers without much real help from his fellow Democrats. Obama is quite good at this sort of exchange, and seems to have shown it again today. But the Republicans kept throwing fresh and usually reasonably bright and/or attractive faces at him. The Democrats had to let Reid and Pelosi [UPDATE: and Joe Biden) speak, and neither is fresh, attractive, or especially bright.
It also didn’t help Obama that the Republicans have a good case on the merits.