Tags: graham | obama | dinner | meeting

Graham on Dinner With Obama: 'I Hope It Bears Fruit'

Wednesday, 06 Mar 2013 05:39 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said that he would try to talk entitlement reform when he and other Republicans have dinner with President Barack Obama later on Wednesday.

“If we don't fix entitlements, they're going to consume all the money we send to Washington in the future and Medicare and Social Security is going to collapse,” Graham told The Hill. “And I think the president knows that also.

“I have publicly said that I am willing to do more revenue if we can bend the entitlement curve, and I'm just speaking for myself,” Graham added. “There are other senators that are going to be giving their views to the president tonight — they'll probably try and talk some sense into him and he'll try to talk sense into us.

“I am encouraged by the president's outreach. I hope it bears fruit,” Graham said. “But I know this: if we never talk to each other I know exactly what's going to happen. This country's going to fail.”

Graham told The Hill that Obama had asked him and Sen. John McCain of Arizona several weeks ago to meet with them and several other Republican senators. The private dinner will be held at the Jefferson Hotel near the White House in Washington.

“I'm assuming the president wants to talk seriously about the issues of the day,” Graham told The Hill. “And if he just wants to have a dinner so we can get to know each other better, that's fine with me.

“So how do you say no to the president, who would like to have dinner with some of your colleagues?” Graham asked. “You don't. And anybody who would do that in this business is in the wrong position.”

Graham praised the president for reaching out to Republicans.

“So when the president asked that I get together a group, I willingly did, and I was honored to try to do that. Where this goes I don't know,” Graham told The Hill.

“I do believe what the president has been doing lately, getting off the campaign trail, back in to the normal business of doing business up here, talking to each other — I can't think of any major accomplishment in America in the private or public sector where no one ever talked to each other,” he continued. “So I want to compliment the president for reaching out. I think he's doing the right thing. We need to stop the campaign — the election is over.”

Besides Graham and McCain, the other GOPers invited to dinner include Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Dan Coats of Indiana, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and John Hoeven of North Dakota.

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