The second stage of President Obama’s dinner diplomacy lasted more than two and half hours Wednesday, as Obama discussed his newly released budget, immigration reform and gun control with a dozen Republican senators at the White House.
The group talked shop over a green salad, steak and sautéed vegetables, officials said — and Obama is hoping that lawmakers walked away with more than just appreciation for the meal.
“Tonight, the president enjoyed a constructive, wide-ranging discussion with Republican senators that included reducing the deficit in a balanced way, reforming our broken immigration system and adopting common-sense measures to reduce gun violence,” a White House official said, adding that Obama “looks forward to continuing bipartisan conversations in the weeks and months ahead.”
Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., organized the get together. Also attending, according to sources, were Sens. Lamar Alexander, John Boozman, Mike Crapo, Pat Roberts, Marco Rubio, Roger Wicker, John Thune, Mike Enzi, Deb Fischer, Orrin Hatch and Susan Collins.
Republicans wanted to bring to the dinner members from across the country who represented a variety of idologies.
The senators entered and left the White House out of view of television cameras.
After the dinner, Isakson called the event “very productive.”
This is the second time Obama shared a meal with his Republican rivals in recent weeks. Last month, he picked up the dinner tab for himself and a group of Republican senators at the Jefferson Hotel, but there was little indication that the goodwill helped him on Capitol Hill.