Washington (CNN) - As the recession continues to play a monumental role in the midterm election battle, CNN has learned that President Barack Obama quietly met with billionaire Warren Buffett for an hourlong meeting at the White House Wednesday, according to senior officials familiar with the chat.
The 11:15 a.m. meeting was not listed on Obama's public schedule, the officials said, but the White House released a photograph of the encounter after it had ended.
In addition to the economic crisis, the two men discussed energy reform and other issues, according to the officials.
As the president continues to push for more private-sector jobs, one senior administration official said additional big guns could be expected to pay visits to the White House.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In a last-ditch attempt to craft a bipartisan health care reform bill, President Barack Obama will release a new proposal Wednesday afternoon that will include Republican ideas on tort reform and health savings accounts, according to Democratic officials familiar with the plans.
But top Republicans, including House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, immediately said the new proposal is not good enough and reiterated calls for the president to scrap the plan and start over. The situation is setting up a likely showdown that top Democrats say will end up with the president trying to pass the health legislation with only Democratic votes through the legislative shortcut of reconciliation.
In fact, senior congressional Democrats have privately expressed frustration that the president is spending time at this late date reaching out to Republicans, when it has become increasingly clear the two parties can not settle their differences on this contentious issue. The senior Democrats said they think the White House should be devoting time trying to win over Democrats, because it's still not clear they can secure a simply majority in the House and Senate for the president's plan.
"Why even bother with the olive branches?" asked one senior congressional Democratic aide. "It's very clear Republicans are not going to provide any votes."