U.S. President Barack Obama clashed with Republican lawmakers Thursday during a televised summit aimed at breaking the partisan deadlock over health care reform.
Opening the meeting, President Obama said he hoped leaders on both sides would bridge their differences, and avoid what he called "political theater."
But soon after the summit began, tensions emerged. Republican Senator Lamar Alexander challenged the president's claim that premiums would fall under the Democrats' reform proposal, resulting in a heated exchange. Alexander said his party believes Congress should abandon the legislation engineered by Democrats and "start over."
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it is too late to write a new bill. She said many parts of the existing proposal came from Republicans and deserve their support.