Tags: obama | senate | gop | isakson

Obama Woos Senate Republicans With Isakson’s Help

Thursday, 28 Mar 2013 02:59 PM

By Melanie Batley

In his latest charm offensive directed at freeing up the gridlock in Congress, President Barack Obama will hold a second dinner meeting with a new round of Republican senators on April 10, according to Politico.

The dinner, being arranged with the help of Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson, will be the second time in a month Obama has attempted to make peace across the aisle by breaking bread with Republicans and engaging in some frank discussions.

The White House reached out to Isakson to help arrange next month's get-together. The Georgia Republican, who did not attend the first dinner with a dozen senators held at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington on March 6, has invited a fresh group of 12 Republicans, his office told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who are interested in discussing a number of issues with the president, ranging from gun control and immigration to the federal budget.

That would bring the number of GOP senators Obama has invited to dinner in the last month to 24. That leaves 21 to go, raising the possibility of more dinner dates to come if the president intends to court the entire Senate Republican Caucus.

After the first dinner, Isakson told the Journal-Constitution he thought it was great the president was reaching out.

"Communication is the key to understanding, and dueling press conferences and dueling accusations at press conferences don’t serve any good purpose, especially when you’re talking about moving forward on policy. This outreach is a good start," the senator said.

So far, the dinner invitations have excluded Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has also praised the president for his outreach effort, which has included several recent trips to Capitol Hill for lunch and meetings with both Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate.

"I told [Obama] ... those small dinners were a good thing and he could go have all the members down, including the people who are the least likely to be inclined to do anything," McConnell told Politico recently.

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