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by
Bridget Johnson

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March 7, 2013 - 9:36 am

Republicans who enjoyed a three-hour private dinner with President Obama at the Jefferson Hotel last night — with POTUS picking up the tab — defended the meeting, even with the optics of leaving their colleague Sen. Ran Paul (R-Ky.) to filibuster while acquiescing to the president.

“Last night’s dinner with President Obama and my Republican colleagues was productive and substantive. I hope it will serve as the beginning of a new, long-overdue paradigm where people in elected office actually begin talking to each other about meaningful issues,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

“The discussions with the President about our long-term budget problems were candid and differences in philosophy were apparent. However, also apparent was common ground on how to move forward,” he added. “One thing I am certain of — the perpetual campaign will not solve the nation’s problems.”

Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) on CNN this morning called it “a cordial dinner, but it was a serious dinner.”

“We talked about the subjects we should talk about, the debt and deficit and plunged into more and more debt through out of control government spending. I was glad the president took the opportunity to talk to us personally,” Coats said. “…It did not get contentious, but it was serious and we had, I think, a very adult discussion. Instead of being on the campaign trail, the president trying to make his point, we were working together and talking together about the real essence of our problem and how we can get this thing turned from this never-ending short-term fix fiscal cliff stuff into a long-term solution to our fiscal problem. I was pleased that it was that substantive.”

Graham and Coats were joined by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John McCain (R-S.C.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). Coburn, Johanns, and Chambliss have previously said they’re not seeking re-election.

Coburn called the feast “a good experience.”

“It’s something that should have happened years ago, which is part of the problems of this administration. And it’s going to take a while to build the kind of confidence and trust that’s needed. You know if you’ve had years of having somebody put a finger in your eye, and question your motivations, and ascribe to you things that aren’t accurate, that takes some healing. And I think it was very good for the president to have that dinner, and I think he needs to do a whole lot more of that,” he said on MSNBC.

“Because relationships matter. And building trust and confidence, and knowing you’re not going to get gamed is the way you get something done for the American people,” Coburn added.

Toomey told Fox News he hopes the dinner signaled “a new approach on the part of the president to reach out, to have some dialogue, to see if there’s common ground.”

“I’m not sure what his motivation is. He is the only one who knows that for sure. But I would suggest that the approach of campaigning in America and — and really being quite confrontational hasn’t been working so well,” the senator said.

“It was cordial, but it was also substantive. It really was. Everybody had a chance to make the points they wanted to make. There was back and forth. There was substantive discussion about actual fiscal policy, priorities and alternatives and ideas,” Toomey added. “So, you know the idea wasn’t that we were going to negotiate a deal last night. That was never part of the plan, and that isn’t going to happen over one dinner. But I think it was a constructive exchange.”

Toomey, Chambliss, and Johnson aided Paul with his filibuster at some point in the day or after dinner.

Corker called the meal “a very sincere and, I think, a constructive dinner” on Fox today.

“I thought there was a sincere and in-depth conversation about the various touch points. Obviously, Republicans want to see entitlement reform so that these programs are saved for the next 75 years,” he said. “The president, obviously, is looking for revenues, and so there were discussions along broad parameters last night, and I think there were some areas of commonality which I hope we can build upon to solve this problem.”

Also read: Wine and Dines Continue: Ryan Accepts Obama Lunch Invitation

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (10)
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These fools are worse than Dennis Rodman.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So after 4 long knock-down drag-out years in office, the 2012 campaign where the big "O" crapped on everything Republican, and 2013 with the fiscal cliff and the sequester, NOW this guy wants to reach across the aisle?

Hey Senators, I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. You can borrow the money from China. Seeing as how you put last night's dinner on my grandchildren's credit card.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And how about adding, " thank you tax payers for a lovely dinner."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Perfect. Fiddling with the Emperor while the Senate burns.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
so how much did this cost us, and what is the visual of a 20 car motorcade to go to a very expensive dinner, while White House tours are cancelled.

Sorry but the visuals of obozo enjoying all the perks while telling us that we must all share in the pain is just more Pee-C BS from this UNPATRIOTIC, IRRESPONSIBLE, economic dunce and failure using more chicago style thug politics to push an agenda that american people don't want and can't afford.


Now mr. obozo, why don't you go to Hugo Chavez;s funeral and show us your true colors as he also, on a salary of the president deprived the people while accumulating massive wealth for himself.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This lack of passion for the rule of law, evidenced by McCain and Graham, is why these fools need to go. They have been in Washington so long they have lost the ability to think.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Come now gentlemen I’m sure we can amicably find ways to continue to rape the American tax payer for the benefit of our mutual cronies for the foreseeable future.

We are all reasonable men here.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Useful idiots" comes to mind as a sobriquet. Just how many times does Lindsay Graham have to be fooled or used to come to that conclusion? O will take any good idea the Reps put on the table, claim it as his own, and blame these idiots for any failures that arise. He negotiates like a scorpion.

Don't ever forget that O's next goal is to crush the GOP for the 2014 House election. There is no other way he can possibly assure his "fame" in the pantheon of Great Democrats [joining Woodrow Wilson, Lenin, Stalin, FDR, et al].
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Here we go again. Obama fools the Republicans one more time.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Why shouldn't they be fooled? They're fools aren't they?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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