A group of twelve Republican United States Senators had dinner yesterday with President Obama at the Jefferson Hotel, just blocks from the White House and across Lafayette Park. President Obama reportedly discussed issues that are not moving forward in the Congress. In the Washington version of "Guess who's coming to dinner," that dinner conversation went very well. At least, according to a senior administration White House official who said that “The President greatly enjoyed the dinner and had a good exchange of ideas with the Senators.”
The takeaway from the meeting, according to The Hill, is the prospect of a "grand bargain." Politico reports that a "grand bargain" is back on the table, raising revenues coupled with a comprehensive agreement to overhaul the Internal Revenue Tax Code and entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare.
Despite what has been called a "frosty" relationship between President Obama and Senate Republicans (or any Republicans for that matter), one Senator thought he heard something.
“I think really what he is trying to do is start a discussion and kind of break the ice and that was appreciated,” said Sen. Mike Johanns (Neb.), one of twelve Republicans (see below for the names of the Senators) who broke bread with Obama. “Most of the meeting was spent on budget and [finding] a way forward. His goal is ours. We want to stop careening from crisis to crisis.”
Johanns said he is more optimistic of reaching a broad deficit-reduction deal this Congress. “I think he’s very sincere. I think he wants to try to figure something out. Today was a good step and we’ll see what happens now.”
In another show of good faith, President Obama picked up the entire tab.
And presumably the tip.
The biggest tip could turn out to be for the American people, if a "grand bargain" can be achieved.
The Republican Senators attending were Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Kelly Ayotte of New Hamphshire, John McCain of Arizona, Dan Coats of Indiana, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, John Hoeven of North Dakota and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books. John has volunteered for many political campaigns.