Washington (CNN) –- President Barack Obama acknowledged that the Republican proposal on a six week debt ceiling increase was a good thing in an hour-and-a-half meeting with House Republican leadership Thursday night, according to a Democratic source familiar with the gathering.
The meeting overall was an amicable one, featuring some of the first real dialogue between the two sides in recent weeks. The point of contention remains on Obama’s demand to reopen the government, for which Republicans still want concessions on spending, the source said.
The President continued to question the rationale for keeping the government closed. And he continued to call for the government to be funded and the debt ceiling raised in one swoop, the source said.
The GOP leaders present told the President they had a list of demands in exchange for reopening the government, which Obama said he would look at but reminded them he would not give concessions in order to end the shutdown.
House Speaker John Boehner did not outline what the specific items were, the source said. Boehner said staff was working on that.
Little appeared changed on the issue of raising the debt ceiling, with Obama signaling he was open to a six-week extension. The question remains whether Boehner would be able to get such an extension through the Republican caucus.
One of the main positives to be taken from the meeting, the source said, is the lack of enmity in readouts to the press on the meeting from both sides. Nor did Boehner seek out the cameras in front of the White House to vent afterwards, a common occurrence after other meetings.
As for what comes next, the dialogue now ongoing is happening mostly at the staff level, with White House officials hoping to determine from those discussions exactly what it is House Republicans want.
How the White House will react to Republican demands remains to be seen, with Obama firm on giving no concessions to undo the shutdown.
–CNN’s Bryan Koenig contributed to this report.