Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress came at a crucial moment in the debate over health care reform. The White House had said repeatedly in recent days that the president would get more specific in this address than he has in speeches over the last several months, raising the bar for something new that would move the debate forward after weeks of stalemate on Capitol Hill.
Obama admitted in an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America" Wednesday that by giving Congress so much leeway in shaping the legislation, rather than sending his own bill to the Hill, he "probably left too much ambiguity out there."
That ambiguity gave the president's opponents a window of opportunity to criticize the overall push for reform and fill the void with what the president called "scare tactics" in the speech.
The result for the White House was a summer of headaches and an August recess that came without a vote on legislation.
Republicans say that while there are areas where bipartisanship can be achieved, they need more guarantees from the president.
"A lot of what I heard has been heard before. The president did leave open the door for us," Cantor said. "I think we really need to start with some guarantees though ... that the government is not going to take away decision making away from patient ... that there won't be any rationing ... that we're not going to break the bank."
ABC News' Sunlen Miller and Jake Tapper contributed to this report.