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NYT: Obama Has Been Reaching Out To The GOP

From the New York Times:

In President’s Outreach to G.O.P., Past Failures Loom

By JACKIE CALMES | March 11, 2013

WASHINGTON — For all the attention to President Obama’s new campaign of outreach to Republicans, it was four months ago — on the eve of bipartisan budget talks — that he secretly invited five of them to the White House for a movie screening with the stars of “Lincoln,” the film about that president’s courtship of Congress to pass a significant measure.

None accepted.

Note that, despite the headline, this is the only outreach specifically mentioned in this long article. So this last minute movie invitation is the "past failures" that "loom." After four plus years.

The president’s associates, busy lately fielding questions of what took so long, readily acknowledge that Mr. Obama could have done more over the past divisive four years to wine, dine and simply engage the other side to reach bipartisan deals on a range of issues. They give multiple reasons for his reserve — personality, family commitments (6:30 dinner is said to be “sacrosanct” most nights) and too little appreciation for the aura of the presidency.

But now that he is trying harder — on Tuesday Mr. Obama makes the first of four visits to the Capitol over three consecutive days — Democrats say that his effort will put to the test, or at least expose, what they call the biggest factor of all: Republicans’ resistance to what overtures Mr. Obama does make, whether social or legislative, given the political danger of appearing too close to a president so unpopular with the conservative base.

“I find it sort of hard to stomach the criticism that he has not been reaching out to Republicans,” said Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, a Democrat close to the White House.

Republicans are politically “schizophrenic,” he added. “On the one hand they complain about the president not reaching out,” he said. “But when he reaches out directly, a lot of them are running for cover.”

Again, besides this one invitation to see a screening, when has Obama reached out to Republicans? And what is his outreach, anyway, but ‘help me raise taxes and defeat the Republican agenda?

What spurred Mr. Obama to reach out to rank-and-file Republicans with a flurry of phone calls, meals and now Capitol visits were the recent announcements by their leaders — Speaker John A. Boehner and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky — that they will no longer negotiate with Mr. Obama on budget policy as long as he keeps demanding more tax revenues as the condition for Democrats’ support of reduced spending on Medicare and other entitlement programs…

So Obama is trying to do an end around the Republican leadership to get his way. How bi-partisan of him.

The record is full of examples of Republicans who have paid a price for appearing too cozy with Mr. Obama…

Mr. Obama cited the example of Charlie Crist, the former Republican governor of Florida. In early 2009, Mr. Crist literally embraced the new president and his $800 billion two-year economic stimulus package when Mr. Obama visited Florida, thereby poisoning his candidacy for his party’s Senate nomination; it went to Marco Rubio, who then won the general election…

So Obama was reaching out to Crist how?

More recently Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, another Republican seen as a presidential contender, enraged conservative activists with his warm reception of Mr. Obama as he toured the state after Hurricane Sandy, just before the November election…

Again, how was Obama reaching out to Christie?

Aides say Mr. Obama will continue his outreach even if the phone calls and other overtures can “feel fake to him,” in the words of one associate.

Maybe because they are fake. And what’s with "continue"? He just started.

The president signaled as much in his January news conference.

“Now that my girls are getting older, they don’t want to spend that much time with me anyway,” Mr. Obama said. “So,” he added, “maybe a whole bunch of members of the House Republican caucus want to come over and socialize more.”

And look at how friendly Mr. Obama has been to the House Republicans since January. He hasn’t demonized them at all.

Well, except for claiming that their sequester cuts are going to give everyone cancer, and worse.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, March 12th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

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