Will Obama's Health Care Summit Be Political Theater or Substantive Dialogue?

McMahon said Obama and the Democrats need to go into the meeting with five or six compromise items they can agree to and put them on the table before the Republicans.

"Ask Sen. Mitch McConnell or Minority Leader John Boehner, 'If we put this in a bill can you get your members to support it?'" McMahon said.

On the other side of the table, Perino said Republicans should go in and point out there are things they can agree with Democrats on -- such as affordability, pre-existing conditions, competition across state lines and tort reform.

"If I were the Republicans, I would go in there with a calm purpose and they should feel really good because they forced [the Democrats] into this," Republican strategist Perino said. "The Democrats did not choose to be bipartisan. If they wanted to be bipartisan they would have had the summit last year."

The Bipartisanship Revolution Will Be Televised

Fratto said this is the "biggest stage" Republicans will have on health care, "so their challenge will be to frame their goals in a way that is reasonable and acceptable to the American people."

He cautioned that both Democrats and Republicans need to remember to stay out of the weeds.

"I think if they get too far into the details of individuals pieces it's just going to get lost on everyone," Fratto said. "But if they can have a good discussion of what the basic goals for health care reform should be, and that there's a genuine effort on both sides to agree on that, then I think they will have gone a long way towards moving the ball forward."

Today's entire session will be on camera, fulfilling a promise Obama made on the camera trail of opening up all of the health care negotiations to the public. That has not happened through this point of the debate.

Political strategists disagree on whether putting the discussion on camera will help or hurt the attempt at bipartisan cooperation and progress.

"It makes it much less likely there's going to be" anything to come out of it, Perino said. "You can't be blunt. The camera changes the dynamics. People play to the cameras or they're nervous, not themselves. "

Democratic strategist McMahon disagreed and thinks the media coverage could be the reason something tangible comes out of the summit.

"It's because of the pandering to the cameras that there is a greater chance of something happening," he said, noting that each side can choose to be constructive or obstructive and will be conscious of how that posturing will play out on television.

Myers said that both Democrats and Republicans "obviously want to control their sides so nobody makes a mistake -- but something is going to happen that is going to define that day."

"It becomes a public relations battle," she said. "And the outcome will depend in a lot of ways on the unexpected things that happen in that room."

"It's a high wire act for both sides, because you don't know what that moment is going to be," she said.

Republican strategist Fratto said that opening the meeting up to cameras may, in fact, reduce the partisan blame game.

"Behind closed doors, you can definitely get some things done if there's a willingness and intention to get some things done," Fratto said. "If there isn't, you walk out of the meeting and both sides give their readout as to why nothing happened, and you can point fingers to the other side."

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