I suppose the president is doing this as political cover for the eventual use of reconciliation. But I suspect he really thinks he's going to change the way things work in Congress -- either he's crazy, or a genius. Personally, I wish he'd give up trying to be the Great Mediator and just ram through his agenda - the same way George Bush did with much less public support:
President Obama moved to jump-start the stalled health-care debate Sunday, inviting Republicans in Congress to participate in a bipartisan, half-day televised summit on the subject this month.
The president made the offer in an interview with CBS News anchor Katie Couric hours before the network televised the Super Bowl.
Obama challenged Republicans, who have been largely unified in opposing his proposals, to bring their best ideas for how to cover more Americans and fix the health insurance system to the public discussion.
"I want to consult closely with our Republican colleagues," Obama said. "What I want to do is to ask them to put their ideas on the table. . . . I want to come back and have a large meeting, Republicans and Democrats, to go through, systematically, all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward."
The invitation to meet together on Feb. 25 -- and to do so live in front of the American public -- represents an effort by Obama to hit the reset button on the top domestic priority of his first year in office. It also reflects a recognition that he must have at least some Republican support if he hopes to see health-care reform pass.
[...] GOP leaders on Sunday said they welcomed the outreach but called it evidence that Obama knows he must start over if he wants to earn their support going forward.