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RUSH: Yesterday and the day before, when I got wind of this invitation from Obama to House Republicans to come up and have a televised six hour meeting on health care on February 25th, I implored them not to go. Be the party of ‘no;’ be the party of ‘hell no.’ The polling data all shows that 80% of the American people disapprove of the liberal Democrat Congress. There’s no majority anywhere among any group that wants Obamacare. Obama has said day in and day out that he’s not going to start over, so I said, ‘You can’t lose here by not showing up.’ It seems that many disagree with me, including the panel at Fox & Friends.

KILMEADE: That’s true but, Steve, as you saw the Washington Post came up with a poll: 63% of those polled say they want Congress to keep trying to tackle the issue —

DOOCY: Sure.

KILMEADE: — of health care and six in ten say the Republicans are not doing enough to forge a compromise. And if the president looked sincere yesterday and if he continues to look sincere and act sincere —

DOOCY: Mmm-hmm.

KILMEADE: — (unintelligible)

CARLSON: This is why I was saying yesterday: I just don’t think it was a win-win for the Republicans not to show up at this thing, because if in fact it’s going to be broadcast live on TV you as the American viewer will be able to see who’s being partisan and who’s not.

DOOCY: Besides it’s the optics. If they don’t show up, the president will say, ‘Well, I invited the Republicans. Can you zoom out? You can see. Yup. It’s an empty room. The Republicans didn’t come.’

RUSH: And Monday night Special Report with Bret Baier. Bill Kristol, the Weekly Standard magazine editor, was on and said this.

KRISTOL: Obviously when the president invites you to the White House, you go, and they should politely go and tell him that he should kill this terrible bill that the House and Senate — or two bills the House and Senate — Democrats have put together and start over. Republicans should hold their ground. They shouldn’t be apologetic. They shouldn’t snipe at the president. This letter they sent today, I think that’s silly.

RUSH: That was not a silly letter. I respectfully disagree here. This was not a silly letter. It was a letter to… What the hell was silly about the letter? My gosh, do some people still not know what we’re up against here? Apparently so. It’s people that have this inside-the-Beltway life. You get caught up in the way things happen there. What’s the proper and improper way for decorum and so forth? There was nothing silly about that letter. That letter was awesome. I mean, that letter took it right to Rahm Emanuel and pointed out all the hypocrisy and all of the mistakes and all the errors and it set up some ground rules for the Republicans to show up. What am I missing here, folks? Last night on Greta Van Susteren’s show on Fox, she talked to John Boehner, the Republican leader. She said, ‘You were quoted saying, ‘Why are we gonna talk about a bill’ that can’t pass in connection with the health care bill? Do you say that to the president or the press?’

BOEHNER: I’ve been pretty clear that you’ve got a health care bill that the president and House and Senate Democrats been working on, that they can’t pass. And why they would want to start the conversation there is beyond anything I can understand.

RUSH: Oh, he understands precisely what’s going on. They want to start it there because they want their bill. Hell, folks, even CBS — even CBS! — sees it. It’s on their Web page, one of their blogs, Mark Knoller. I mean this is remarkable. ‘Obama Says Bipartisanship but What He Wants is GOP Surrender,’ and Boehner knows that’s what the objective here is. ‘Unannounced, President Obama took to the lectern in the White House briefing room today to give a personal readout of his meeting earlier with congressional leaders of both parties. ‘Despite the political posturing that often paralyzes this town, there are many issues upon which we can and should agree,’ he said. It was more a plaintive plea than a political observation. His top legislative priorities are going nowhere and he’s searching for a way to get them out of lockup. In this 13th month of his presidency, he’s anxious to pass a jobs bill and be seen addressing an unemployment rate that only last week declined from double digits,’ but it really didn’t.

‘And his efforts to enact bills on energy, financial regulatory reform and especially health care are stuck in Congress despite the solid majority his party holds in both chambers. He’s appealing for a spirit of bipartisanship — urging Democrats and Republicans alike ‘to put aside matters of party for the good of the country.’ It’s a familiar refrain from US presidents who can’t get their way in Congress.’ But ‘what these presidential appeals for bipartisanship always mean is: do it my way. … When a sitting president calls for bipartisanship by the opposition — he really means surrender. And if they block his proposals, its ‘obstinacy’ and not political views they hold as strongly as he holds his.’ Exactly right. Now, CBS, Mark Knoller, can put this on a blog… Obama wants Republican surrender. Boehner knows what’s going on. These guys know precisely what the purpose of this is. Now, here is more Boehner. Van Susteren said, ‘Well, February 25th do you intend to go to this meeting that the president’s calling and having televised at the White House?’

BOEHNER: I want to have a bipartisan conversation with the president about how to fix our health care system, but Eric Cantor and I sent a letter to Obama-Emanuel posing a series of questions about, ‘Really, what is this?’ You know, the White House let us know about an hour before the American people saw this in his interview on Sunday afternoon.

VAN SUSTEREN: So it was a stunt?

BOEHNER: Well, I don’t know. That’s what we’re trying to get to the bottom of.

VAN SUSTEREN: What would it take for you to go to that February 25th…?

BOEHNER: I want to have this bipartisan conversation. But I want it to be productive, and I want it to be real. I don’t want to walk into some trap. I don’t want to walk into some political event.

RUSH: Well, that’s what it’s designed to be. It is a political event, it is a political trap, and it’s designed to make you guys look like the obstacles. See, there are two things going on here. The Republicans are the hot commodity. Obama wants to be seen with them. He doesn’t want to be seen with a bunch of Democrats right now. Their negatives are so sky-high he doesn’t want to be seen with them. He wants to be seen with the Republicans. The Republicans, in every poll that’s taken, are given much higher marks for being able to do this. To cut taxes, to manage the economy, the generic ballot, it’s all Republican in big leads in practically every poll you look at. So Obama wants to surrender himself with these guys, but he’s not going to give up what he wants in the way he wants it and the details of what he wants. He wants to portray these guys as the obstacles to get his party out of the vise! His party is in a blazing fire. He can’t get his party to agree on anything. The House Democrats are saying ‘no’ to the Senate Democrats and vice-versa.

So Obama wants a picture where at the end of the day his willing accomplices in the media can say, ‘I tried, but these guys don’t want to compromise with me.’ He wants pictures that he can show that it’s the Republicans obstructing this — and how convenient! How convenient he gets a poll from the Washington Post, which is not borne out in any other poll I’ve seen: ‘63% of the American people want the country to work together. Those polled say they want Congress to keep trying to forge a compromise’? That’s not what this is. That’s the only poll that says that. Every other poll on health care says, ‘Don’t do this!’ Every other poll on health care says, ‘We don’t want Obamacare.’ But somehow ABC/Washington Post produces a poll, ‘63% of those polled say that they want Congress to keep trying to tackle the issue’? And ‘six in ten say the Republicans are not doing enough to forge a compromise’? Frankly, my friends, I’m a little suspicious because I haven’t seen that in any other poll anywhere. I haven’t seen a poll blaming the Republicans for anything on this. The Republicans, up until Scott Brown, couldn’t have stopped it anyway. This is a big-time trap. And Boehner knows it. He said this further with Greta Van Susteren.

BOEHNER: I don’t want to walk into some setup. I don’t know who’s going to be there. I don’t know how big the room’s going to be. I don’t know what the setup’s going to be. And so on behalf of the American people we’ve asked the White House: Just scrap this bill. Let’s start over. I think that’s where most Americans are on this bill, and I just want to continue to push the White House to do this. The president of the United States, you know, when he offers an invitation to go to the White House, you know, naturally you want to go. I’m just trying to make sure that this is as productive and honest a conversation as possible.

RUSH: Well, right there, his suspicions are aroused that it’s not going to be that if he’s trying to confirm it’s going to be something — and he’s very wise to have these doubts. But there’s a story here from NationalJournal.com, actually from yesterday: ‘House Speaker Pelosi’s top healthcare adviser today outlined a plan that would allow both chambers to make changes to the Senate healthcare overhaul before the overhaul becomes law. Wendell Primus said the plan is to have President Obama sign the Senate bill before signing the legislation making the changes, even though Congress will approve them in reverse to satisfy skeptical House members who refuse to pass the Senate bill before changes are made.

”The trick in all of this is that the president would have to sign the Senate bill first, then the reconciliation bill second, and the reconciliation bill would trump the Senate bill,’ Wendell Primus, told health policy experts gathered at the National Health Policy Conference hosted by AcademyHealth and Health Affairs.’ That’s Pelosi’s strategy. Now, what the hell is this meeting all about, then? If they’ve already got a strategy to get the Senate bill enacted as health care reform that Obama can sign, then what the hell is this meeting all about? Pelosi said, ‘There’s a certain skill, there’s a trick, but I think we’ll get it done.’ So Pelosi’s aide has spilled beans on what their health care endgame is, and it doesn’t involve Republicans at all — and this came out yesterday right here in the face of Obama demanding this meeting on February 25th that a bunch of people on our side think the Republicans ought to go to!

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Well, just as sure as you coulda predicted it, here are a bunch of Democrats now all over television this afternoon touting this Washington Post poll that says 63% of the American people want the Republicans to work with the Democrats to forge a compromise on Obamacare. So now they’re out there saying: ‘See? The American people blame the Republicans for not doing enough.’ There’s no other poll that says this. Not one. This is a coordinated attack. It is designed to bring pressure on the Republicans. The real numbers are 80 to 90% of the American people disapprove of the liberal-Democrat Congress. Obama’s approval ratings are in the mid- to low forties now, depending on which poll you look at. The Republicans are leading everything in the generic ballot to winning elections everywhere. The idea that Republicans are being held accountable for this is just BS, pure BS. I mean, being held accountable or to blame by the American people.

So the hard press is on, which means that this thing on the 25th at the White House is a pure setup – and don’t forget! Don’t forget the National Journal has a story, somebody in Pelosi’s office told ’em what the endgame here is, and it is to get the House to pass the Senate bill. You send it up to Obama and he signs it; then the reconciliation begins in the Senate, and then they start adding things to it that the House wants. That’s the plan, without talking to the Republicans. They’re just bringing the Republicans in there. The Republicans are smoking. The Republicans are hot as hell. The Democrats have to cool ’em off. The Democrats have to somehow (along with their willing accomplices in the media) make it look like Obama’s failures are only due to Republicans not willing to compromise, not willing to engage in bipartisanship. That’s the trap. Now, they know that’s what the trap is. But if they go up there, even knowing it, can they avoid falling for it? ‘Cause he’s going to run the meeting. If they want to have a meeting with him why don’t they call it and they run it? Ah, never happen.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Eric in San Mateo, California, you’re next on the EIB Network. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. Thank you again for a wonderful program. That last call was perplexing. That was very interesting. My point has to do with Obama trying to call the Republicans to what he calls a health care summit, and I think Republicans have an incredible opportunity. Obama has called great attention to the fact that the Republicans haven’t been heard. Well, Republicans should — on the exact same date at the same time propose to — hold their own summit just for themselves called Health Care Unfiltered, put their plan out there and make their own media event leveraging Obama’s media event.

RUSH: Maybe. I think that’s not a bad idea. The odds of it being covered, however, are slim, ’cause you know the media is on their side. They could try doing that if they’re going to go up. It sounds to me like they’re going to go up there. It sounds like they’re getting enough advice that: ‘White House calls, the president calls and invites you, you gotta go. You don’t say no to that.’ But they’re going to have to be really careful when they get up there and they’re going to have to stand their ground when they do. I think, folks, there’s another reason why Obama wants this. I want to take you back to the Republican retreat a couple weekends ago in Baltimore. They invited Obama to show up and Obama showed up, and it’s as I said on Monday. You cannot have whatever number of Republicans in the room debating the president of the United States.

There is not an elected Republican leader with anywhere near, in our party, the stature that Obama has. We just don’t have that. So here’s Obama, as the president, who’s talking to 15 or 20 or however many Republicans are going to be there just as it was in Baltimore at the retreat. Well, what happened after that retreat? After that retreat, the press and the blogs went nuts. They thought, ‘It was the smartest thing Obama has ever done. It revived Obama! It showed Obama to be much smarter and much more nuanced than the Republicans, and it showed the Republicans to be nothing but petty, and they were just trying to sink a battleship with BBs,’ and I think the White House heard that and thought, ‘Wow, here’s a way to get our stature back.’ Because you have to treat the president, whoever he is (if you’re Republican) with a certain amount of respect.

The Democrats, of course, throw that out the window. So it’s a risk to go up there even if they do hold firm because the whole point of this is for the press to write how much smarter and how well informed, much more nuanced on this than the Republicans are — and second, to portray the Republicans as the obstacle here, when nothing could be further from the truth. My instincts say that that’s risky thing to go do because what we need to be focusing on here is conservative victory and rolling all this back and continuing to stop it. Stopping it dead in its tracks. Health care. Stopping cap and trade and anything else. Now, folks, we’ve got a lot of things to do here and not a whole lot of time to do them. Now, you look at the fact that the elections are coming up in November, and that’s the first opportunity we’re going to have to put the brakes on this.

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