While our egoistic President attempts to pull his budget-busting, counter-productive and immensely unpopular health care reform bill out of the fire:
* Jobless claims just climbed more than 12% over the past two weeks.
* Barack Obama's arrogance is on full display. See these video clips taken from today's Democrat controlled "discussion." 1) "The election is over." and 2) "I Don't Count My Time Because I'm The President."
* To see just how balanced today's "summit" is, compare the opening statement time allotted to the two parties: Democrat opening remarks (Obama - 14.36, Pelosi - 7.57, Reid - 8.13 = 30 minutes, 46 seconds) vs Republican (Alexander - 13 minutes, 10 seconds.) And it was downhill from there.
* Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns commenting on the Democrat's standard ploy of telling unending heartbreak stories that show how deeply they "feel" people's pain: “I don’t deny that there are people out there who have suffered — people who’ve been mistreated by insurance companies, who didn’t get the medicine they need. I recognize that. The problem with the stories being proffered today is that they seem to imply that if you pass this big government takeover of health care, then the world immediately get better. That’s just not the case. The highest rate of denial amongst the major insurance companies in Medicare comes from Medicare. You can’t spin that.”
* The Republicans have it all over the Dems on substance. Obama wanted political theater but he sure didn't want the stars of the show to be Tom Coburn and John Kyl! A very bad move on Obama's part. His desperation and his unbelievable ego are getting him in deeper trouble still.
* Finally, Jeffrey H. Anderson gives this "Half-Time Report" over at NRO's blog, Critical Condition.
At the intermission, the president may be wondering why he decided to host this summit. Sitting around a table, almost as an equal (albeit a particularly chatty one) with members of Congress, does not afford him the same advantages he enjoyed when giving the State of the Union address or even when standing behind the podium at the House Republican conference.
This was evident right away, when Sen. Mitch McConnell handed the floor over to Sen. Lamar Alexander for opening Republican remarks — apparently without the president's prior knowledge or permission — and Alexander, a former governor and presidential candidate, proceeded to look the president directly in the eye, at eye-level, and politely and genially tell him how wrong he is on health-care reform before a national television audience. It's hard to imagine Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy, or Reagan having put themselves in that position (with or without the national television part).
The president has held his own and made his points, but he seems a bit irritable (while still mostly friendly and respectful) about having been brought down to everyone else's level, while simultaneously seeming too inclined to lecture, in what many viewers may regard as an arrogant or professorial manner.
Meanwhile, the GOP members have had the chance to make their points, rebut the president's assertions (which it was particularly good to see them do in response to his false or partial claims about costs) and express the view, held by the vast majority of Americans, that ObamaCare must go. And so far they've done a pretty good job of it.