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Illinois Republican Roskam questions President Obama on working with GOP, trade

January 30, 2010

Neither President Obama nor House Republicans pulled any punches Friday in an interesting, unusual and refreshing exchange of ideas at the annual House Republican retreat.    National Journal’s Congress Daily reported on the House Republican Conference:

BALTIMORE — President Obama went toe-to-toe with some of his toughest critics today, engaging in an edgy and occasionally humorous give-and-take with House Republicans at their annual issues retreat.

He accused Republicans of telling voters that he is “doing all kinds of crazy stuff that’s going to destroy America.” To hear some in the GOP, he said, some people might start to view Democratic efforts to reform health care as some “Bolshevik plot.”

Obama spoke for about 20 minutes, then, in a televised bit of political theater, took questions from some of the GOP lawmakers.

One of the highlights came when Illinois Congressman Peter Roskam essentially asked what happened to his old state senate colleague’s ability to roll up his sleeves and work across the aisle.   This video clip runs about six and a half minutes.

Both Illinois Farm Bureau and AFBF praised the President after his SOTU address for his desire to move the Panama, Columbia, and South Korean free trade agreements and are calling on Congress to get to work.

A Utah freshman asked President Obama what happened to his promise to broadcast the healthcare debates on C-SPAN.  This clip runs about three and a half minutes:

The New York Times compared the encounter between the President and House GOP to the British tradition of Question Time.

 But if it was at times a wonky clash of ideas, it also seemed to be a virtual marriage-therapy session — with the most pointed exchanges shown again on the evening news — as each side vented grievances pent up after a year of partisan gridlock.

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