Obama insisted on televising the event, which the GOP apparently acceded to thinking they would be accused of hypocrisy since they wanted to bash Obama for not televising the health care debates. That was mistake one. Mistake two was underestimating this man's power to spin:
President Obama met with Republicans at the GOP Issues Conference in Baltimore today and denied that he wanted to impose huge government, denied that he is a ideologue, told them they will be vulnerable with their constitutients for their tone, demonization, and lack of cooperation - and then amazingly, informed them that his health care bill is "centrist." You'll see all that in the first video below. The second video is the entire address.Only a skilled professional could call the current health care bill 'centrist' then scold the opposition for unilaterally opposing it after admitting the contents violated his own promise and do it convincingly and with a straight face. Only a skilled pseudo-socialist Alinskyite ideologue could throw "Bolshevik plot" back in their faces and leave them speechless. They've forgotten that he took down the Billary machine.
Various GOP pols made some decent marks, such as Wisconsin Rep Paul D. Ryan,
who after a long reply to his original question about spending increases reminded the president he was referring to discretionary spending, not mandatory increases (leading to a quick cut to the next question). And our own Marsha Blackburn pointed to the failure of Congress to study previous failed public option test beds, like Tennessee's "TennCare". But by and large Obama scored points by controlling the room in a hostile environment.
Meanwhile the event took up a lot of press resources on the same day the administration was leaking Titanically about their proposed walk-back of a Manhattan venue for the KSM trials. Score two for Plouffe.