White House, GOP Wrangle Over How to Sit at a Table, How to Eat Food

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Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Only one more day remains until President Obama, Congressional Democrats, and Congressional Republicans sit in a room and pretend to share ideas about health-care reform for the benefit of television cameras. And since no health-care-related things will actually matter tomorrow, how they sit is probably the most important aspect of the summit. Republicans and Democrats have actually been able to reach some consensus on that front. Because the GOP didn't want Obama looking, you know, presidential, they demanded that he not speak at a podium. So instead, he will be seated at a large, hollow, square table with everyone else. There will be name cards, so the American people know exactly whom to credit for this piece of political theater. Obama will offer an opening statement, followed by comments by a Democrat and a Republican. But "important" questions remain.

Though the seating issue is now settled, there remain a number of unresolved issues, reports Politico, which separate groups of Republicans and Democrats continue to huddle over today:

Which Republican will offer an opening statement? Will there be water on the table? Snacks? Will attendees have to munch their lunches in view of the cameras — or retire to a different room for their nosh? Will there be side tables at which members and senators can do nonsummit tasks?

Furthermore, will the snacks be delicious? If there is mustard, will it be of the spicy deli variety, or the less socialist yellow kind? Does anyone have a Tide pen in case some mustard gets on John McCain's tie? Chuck Schumer prefers whole-wheat bread, is that cool? The fate of health-care reform is at stake.

For Dems and GOP alike, optics are everything [Politico]