Senate Democrats held back from asking President Barack Obama about healthcare reform during a carefully scripted question-and-answer session in front of television cameras.
With the cameras rolling, a group of senators selected in advance by the Democratic leadership asked questions about such topics as partisan gridlock and GOP obstruction.
But once the president left and reporters were escorted out of the room, senators pressed White House officials about healthcare reform, according to those at the meeting.
Democrats expressed their frustration with the lack of a clear plan for passing healthcare reform, according to one person in the room.
One Democratic senator even grew heated in his remarks, according to the source.
“It wasn’t a discussion about how to get from Point A to Point B; it was a discussion about the lack of a plan to get from Point A to Point B,” said a person who attended the meeting. “Many of the members were frustrated, but one person really expressed his frustration.”
Senators did not want to press Obama on healthcare reform in front of television cameras for fear of putting him in an awkward spot.
“There was a vigorous discussion about that afterward with some of his top advisers and others,” Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) said regarding the healthcare discussion.
“I think people were probably aware that there was no easy answer and this is being broadcast on live national television and didn’t want to put him on the spot,” Bayh said.
Democratic leaders planned their question time with Obama well in advance, discussing during a meeting earlier in the week who would get to ask questions. (CONTINUES HERE)