Obama's bipartisanship a 'veneer,' Martinez says
At a panel this morning on bipartisanship, Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., said President Barack Obama has missed key opportunities to work with Republicans, despite his pledges to bridge partisan divides during his campaign.
"I know I should sound a note of hope and say that I know in the future we'll be more bipartisan, but that's not the case," Martinez told 250 congressional staffers, lobbyists and journalists at a Capitol Hill breakfast on bipartisanship hosted by National Journal.
The president's economic stimulus package, which passed without any votes from House Republicans and votes from just three Republicans in the Senate, "set a pattern where it has become easier to oppose the president, because there's so little for us to gain to work with him," Martinez said.
The other panelists -- Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., Al From, founder of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, and Steve Bell, a longtime aide to former Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., were a bit less pessimistic, but not much.
All four saw opportunity for cooperation on reforming health care, if not other big-ticket Obama agenda items like addressing global warming and the budget.
While the other three said Obama is governing about how they expected, Martinez said the president has been more to the left than he would have predicted.