Summit Seeks to Revive Bipartisanship

Posted February 23, 2009 at 4:23pm

President Barack Obama on Monday moved to get bipartisanship collaboration back on track after the bruising fight over the economic stimulus package, pointing to the group of lawmakers he assembled for a White House fiscal responsibility summit and declaring he would continue to reach out to both parties.

Obama, who spoke at the conclusion of the meeting, acknowledged GOP complaints that Democrats had not been inclusive, but he insisted that Republicans must respond to Democrats with constructive suggestions and not merely seek to “blow up” the process.

Obama said he would host yet another summit next week to discuss ways to overhaul the nation’s health care system. The president asserted he will seek to tackle health care reform this year.

Obama called on several Congressional leaders present at the summit to offer their views, selecting first the man he defeated in the presidential campaign, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

McCain spoke about the need to control procurement costs, starting with Obama’s new Marine One helicopter, the cost of which now approximates that of Air Force One, according to McCain.

Obama suggested he didn’t need a new helicopter and said he had asked “Gates” — Defense Secretary Robert Gates — to look into it.