Obama reaches out to GOP

Updated: 2013-03-07 10:16


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WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama is reaching out to Congressional Republicans and is to meet with them later Wednesday as well as next week, according to the White House.

The White House said in an schedule update Wednesday Obama is to have dinner with Republican Senators at a Washington hotel later in the day. Reports said Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Roy Blunt, Pat Toomey, Bob Corker, Kelly Ayotte and Ron Johnson all plan to attend the meal.

The dinner is likely a prelude to meetings Obama plans to hold next week with larger groups of Republican lawmakers. Another White House statement said Obama is to go to Capitol Hill and meet separately with the Democratic and Republican caucuses in both the House and Senate, asking for the opportunity to speak to the caucuses about the priorities on his legislative agenda.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement Wednesday that the president will join the March 14 lunch in the Capitol. He said "Senate Republicans welcome the president to the Capitol...We have numerous challenges facing the country and Republicans have offered the president serious solutions to shrink Washington spending and grow the economy. And we will have an opportunity to discuss them with the president at the lunch."

A meeting with House Republicans hasn't been scheduled yet, according to House Speaker John Boehner's office.

The outreach came after Obama's post-election push for his agenda has stalled. The president and his team have been using campaign-style rallies and events to pressure the Republicans. The tactic, and Obama's apparent lack of interest to engage the Republicans, has achieved limited success, and has been criticized roundly by the GOP.