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"Tug-of-war" Continued...

Abortion, which has been a key part of the healthcare debate with moderate Democrats inserting protections against the federal funding of the procedure in the House bill, made a cameo appearance late in Thursday's summit.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, who called the current bills a "dangerous experiment," said that Obama's plan, less restrictive than the House bill, would clear the way for taxpayer-funded abortions. Obama pinched his nose and rubbed his eyes as Boehner spoke. But the issue is sure to reappear in the coming weeks as Democrats try to pass the Senate bill and its lack of abortion protections through a House with a sizeable voting block of pro-life Democrats.

During the lunch break of the session, Obama seemed all smiles as he passed reporters gathered outside the Blair House.

"I don't know if it's interesting watching it on TV," he answered when asked if the debate is gripping the country.

Educational is probably a better word then interesting. But in the end this historic gathering did not tell the nation's voters much that they didn't already know: Democrats are determined to pass a healthcare bill; with or without Republicans and with or without the majority of the American people.

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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