What Is the GOP's Strategy for Obama's Bipartisan Health Care Summit?

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 16, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, our next guest got an invitation to the 2/25, also known as the president's bipartisan televised health care meeting on February 25th. Does anyone know what to expect? Republican congressman Joe Barton joins us live. Congratulations, Congressman. You're going to the -- you have the hottest ticket in town. Everybody'd love to go to this meeting.

What do you know about this meeting? Do you even know whether you're going to be sitting in a circle, whether there's a podium? Do you know anything about the sort of logistics of it?


REP. JOE BARTON, R - TEXAS: Well, it's kind of like an invitation to one of these weekends at a resort. You know -- you know, you're invited and you say no strings attached but you're a little bit worried there has to be a catch somewhere.

We're delighted to be invited. I'm privileged to be the ranking Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, which is how I got my invitation. If the president wants a real dialogue and a real discussion of solutions, we'll be ready. If, on the other hand, we're just stage props for another photo-op, you know, I think that's a disservice not just to us but to the American people.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you hear -- I realize you're not in the halls of Congress right now, but what do you hear? Is the intention of both sides, including the Democrats -- are they coming with -- you know, are they willing to sort of scrap their bill, and are Republicans willing to sort of open their arms and embrace different conversation and talk, or -- or is this -- is everyone sort of thinking, like, Well, this is -- this is nice but?

BARTON: Well, you know, when I talked to Chairman Waxman the week before we left Washington, before the big snow, he was reluctant to start with a clean sheet of paper. We've heard rumors that they're going to release a bill before the summit and we'll just -- we'll hear them praise that bill. I hope that's not the case.

John Boehner, the Republican leader in the House, has presented the president with some of our health care proposals. You know, if they -- if they really want a solution, let's start with a clean sheet of paper. And I might point out that our motto in the House Republican conference is "Bipartisan or bust" because if we're partisan, we're outvoted by 80 votes, so for us to be successful, we have to be bipartisan. And we're just hopeful the president is sincere in his invitation.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know how long this meeting is supposed to be on the 25th?


BARTON: Well, I went to two of the early summits last year, and those each took about two hours. The president made a presentation and some of his cabinet members.

And one of them we then went into focus groups and came back. The others we just sat and listened. We were kind of an audience for the president and some of his cabinet officers to talk to us.

You know, if they are serious, maybe we'll meet in the Roosevelt Room or the cabinet room and -- on the other hand, if we meet in one of the larger rooms with the big audience, it is less likely going to be a substantive discussion. The honest answer, Greta, is we really don't know what the format is going to be, or at least I don't know.

VAN SUSTEREN: It is intriguing whether you're mixed up or sitting by party, or whatever. Anyway, congressman, thanks. We are going to watch very carefully because it is going to be on C-SPAN. Thank you, sir.

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