Luke Sharrett/The New York Times Representatives John Boehner (from left), Eric Cantor and Mike Pence listened to President Obama address Republican lawmakers in Baltimore.
Updated BALTIMORE — President Obama and the Congressional Republicans who have opposed him engaged in a lively and robust debate on Friday over health care, the economy and who was more to blame for the toxic atmosphere clouding the nation’s politics.
Mr. Obama visited the House Republican retreat here in an effort to break through the partisan logjam that has helped stall his legislative agenda, and what ensued was a rare, sustained and unscripted exchange over the best way to address the nation’s ills.
In a session that resembled the British custom where a prime minister responds to questions in Parliament, Mr. Obama took questions from House Republicans, who pressed him on why he had disregarded their ideas and instead advanced what they called big government solutions rather than more surgical alternatives.
Mr. Obama replied that he did consider many of the suggestions they had made over the past year and incorporated some of them into his initiatives but found others unworkable or simply political posturing. Rejecting the notion that he had pushed a “Bolshevik plot” on America, he complained that Republicans had caricatured him as a radical, making it harder to then sit down and compromise. More>>