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25 February 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Historic President Barack Obama opened a historic, televised summit on his historic health care bill, now in a historic 22nd draft, with calls on the opposition to leave "preconceived notions" at the door.
Opposition leaders in Congress, whose names were not immediately available, engaged in a brief shoving match for the right to sit at Mr. Obama's right hand. The preconceived notions to which the President referred included the fringe notions that the U.S. Government should not take over health care, that the Obama bill should not pass without amendment, and that it should not be snuck through with a parliamentary trick. One of the opposition leaders said, "Oh sure, our minds are open. Is that TV camera live?"
The opposition party, whose name was not immediately available, spent the entire year of 2009 denying that it was opposed to Mr. Obama, who used to be popular. Two weeks ago, Scott Brown won the seat held forever by Ted Kennedy, changing the balance of power in Congress. Mr. Brown is reportedly a member of the same opposition party, though his campaign signs didn't say so and, to date, he hasn't voted with them.
Members of the opposition reportedly oppose language in the Senate bill that would mandate that insurance pay for abortions. To date, however, their only successful initiative has been a law that insurance pay for stomach-stapling. "We believe we have a better idea," retorted an opposition Senator from Tennessee, whose name, and whose better idea, were not clear. His only well-known "better idea" was wearing a checkered flannel shirt in an abortive campaign for President a decade ago.
The last time there were so many members of the opposition party at a White House meeting, they were not the opposition. This was in 2008, when John McCain famously "suspended his campaign" to prove that he had the highest qualification for the Presidency: the ability to work with Mr. Obama. The nation agreed, and sent Mr. McCain back to the Senate to do so.
Asked about the assertion of syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh that members of the opposition "have nothing to gain" from attending the parley with Mr. Obama, this Senator replied, "Are you kidding? There are cameras everywhere! Hey kid! The other side is my good side!"