Tags: gop | senators | ignored | obama

GOP Senators Key to Obama Agenda Ignored by White House

By Matthew Auerbach   |   Monday, 18 Feb 2013 10:23 PM

Republican senators crucial to President Obama’s chances of passing any of the programs laid out in his State of the Union address are still waiting for the president to reach across the aisle.

The White House has targeted Sens. Mark Kirk of Illinois, Rob Portman of Ohio, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee as those most likely to work with Obama on passing a variety of reforms and legislation.

But President Obama hasn’t so much as made a phone call or set up a meeting with any of them, which has left them shaking their heads.

“I view this as a time to turn the page and take a fresh approach from both the White House and the congressional perspective and try to work together on these difficult political issues that have to be addressed,” said Portman, who’s viewed as a potential partner on fiscal issues and is still waiting to hear from Obama.

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“Doing it at the level of our leadership and the president hasn’t worked.”

Sen. Kirk, who holds the same Illinois Senate seat that Obama once did, is the leading Senate Republican regarding gun control, yet the closest he’s come to a one-on-one with the President is a fist bump before the State of the Union speech.

Obama’s silent treatment is also confounding those directly involved with immigration reform.

Sen. John McCain said Obama has not yet spoken with Senate Republicans about immigration, even though a bipartisan group is trying to bring together a comprehensive plan on the issue.

McCain, appearing on NBC's “Meet the Press” Sunday, told the panel he has yet to hear from Obama, although the president met with four Democratic senators at the White House just last week to discuss the proposal.

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