- The Washington Times - Friday, February 26, 2010

Rep. Tom Price, Georgia Republican, on Friday gave high marks to the TV debate on health care reform — including one for President Obama — despite Democrats and Republicans failing to reach a compromise.

“I’d give [the president] the grade of ‘A’ for hogging the time,” he said. “I think the American people saw a president who is truly not that interested in listening to the other side.”

Mr. Price also praised the six-hour debate for highlighting the challenges in trying to reform U.S. health care and proving to Americans that Republicans have indeed been sidelined in the debate.

“It was a good show if you could tolerate it because it clarified the remarkable differences,” Mr. Price said on The Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” radio show. “Republicans want patients, families and doctors to be making the decisions while Democrats believe government and bureaucrats ought to be making the decisions.”

Mr. Price, a doctor, is also chairman of the Republican Study Committee, which wrote a House health-care reform bill known as the Empowering Patients First Act.

Mr. Obama touted the televised summit as a way to make the debate transparent to Americans and prove Republicans are involved. But Mr. Price said it was really a tactic for the president to rally Democrats to vote for reform legislation.

“The real purpose of this, from the president’s perspective, was to convince his own folks to buck up and do this thing, as opposed to listening to Republicans and coming up with a compromise plan,” he said.

Mr. Price said the way Mr. Obama cut off Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican and his rival in the 2008 presidential race, in the TV debate was “unpresidential.”

“We’re not campaigning anymore,” Mr. Obama said. “The election is over.”

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