Obama charm offensive continues ahead of Hill visits
March 12th, 2013
09:28 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama charm offensive continues ahead of Hill visits

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama called two more Republican senators Monday in advance of a high profile charm offensive on Capitol Hill this week, White House and Congressional officials have confirmed.

The president contacted freshman Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona to talk about the issue of immigration reform while another call to Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois focused on gun control and deficit reduction, "among other issues," according to a White House official.

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The conversations with Flake and Kirk are an indication the president is expanding his outreach to Republicans beyond efforts to reach a grand bargain on deficit reduction and the automatic budget cuts that kicked in at the beginning of the month.

Administration attempts to improve relations with Republicans appear to have begun shortly after the president won re-election in November when top GOP leaders were invited to the White House for a special screening of the film, "Lincoln."

Among the invitees were House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Both men declined the invitations to the screening that featured a visit with the filmmakers, including the movie's director, Steven Spielberg.

"We got very short notice and he had to swear in a new member," a Boehner spokesman said.

A McConnell aide also explained the invite came at the last minute, adding it "was during an afternoon when the Senate was in session."

Filed under: Congress • Gun control • Gun rights • Immigration • Jeff Flake • Mark Kirk • President Obama
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Annie, Atlanta

    We don't need a charm offensive. He needs to keep bringing it to the American people. Tell them the truth Mr. President. The GOP has hated, HATED SS, Medicare, Medicaid from their inception. It doesn't matter that our tax dollars pay for these programs. The GOP wants to take what we've paid for and turn it over to the profiteers on Wall Street, just like our jails, schools, and health care. For profit health care. Did you ever think we'd have our treatment based on what's best for the shareholders? In what world would we ever find this acceptable if we thought it through?

    But when it comes to subsidies for multi-billion dollar corporations like Big Pharma and Big Oil and those pesky health insurance companies, or tax breaks for corporations who offshore jobs and their dollars for cheap labor and to avoid taxes, well, that's another story. They must be protected at all costs, including the rest of us dropping dead!

    Have we lost our minds, or simply our ability to reason?

    March 12, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  2. Gurgyl

    Be stern and firm.

    March 12, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  3. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Sure, the President tried to reach out to the teapublican leaders of congress and they said they had other things to do. Reminds me of the time John Boehner was invited to the WH to talk about our involvement in the Libyan conflict. John Boehner failed to show and when CNN's Dana Bash asked him why he didn't show, he told Ms. Bash he was busy. Then after Ms. Bash asked him why didn't he appear via conference call, he replied that his phone wasn't working. If this was Russia or China or some country in the Middle East, Boehner would have been given a six gun salute right in the kisser. Worthless bigoted racist envy jealous un-American teapublicans.

    March 12, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  4. Chris

    I find it funny that Obama has been the decorative centerpiece for all the liberal media ports day after day until the sequestration. CNN In particular waged a media war against the Republicans fighting side by side with the WH. Right up until Obama showed his true colors as a typical politician and demonstrated that his image is more important than the American people's success (yes, I blame Congress too). Now, CNN is scraping the barrel for news about other politicians hoping to divert attention from the slipping Obama approval to whatever they can accuse Republicans of next. By the way, this is from an independent, not a Republican. I also think Fox news is a joke. And I didn't like Bush. Just wanted to cut off all the Democratic broken records who continue to lift Obama up to our savior.

    March 12, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  5. WiredweirdinSF

    He is not fooling the Republicans, he is only pulling the wool over the dope addicted, welfare frauds, corrupt union bosses and liberal media that stole the election for him.

    March 12, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  6. Wake up People!

    Can someone please explain what "charm offensive" means? It seems like daily, the right wing media comes up with another negative thing to say about President Obama. I'm actually offended by the term.

    March 12, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    You guys are killing me with this charm offensive crap. The President's been extending olive branches only to get rejected by by republicans. I recall the President extending invitations to Boehner & McConnell to come to the White House and they both rejected those invites.

    March 12, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  8. G. W. Bush

    It's time to get tough, Mr. President.

    March 12, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Flake and Kirk and two of the Tea Party's golden boys. Sorry, girls not allowed.

    March 12, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  10. Kalil Talg

    Too Little too late Mr Obama, always about style and zero substance, what exactly is " charm offensive " means ? is it too much to expect the President to do his job ? Very gracious of him indeed, he should have met with them long before the sequestration and for several days !!! it is called doing his job.

    March 12, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota


    I find it funny that Obama has been the decorative centerpiece for all the liberal media ports day after day until the sequestration

    Thank goodness you still have FOX News and right wing media to keep you updated on how that whole hate Obama thingy is still playing out in GOPerville ... yes, Chris?

    March 12, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  12. Chuk

    As soon as the impass in Washington starts to bite, a lot of Republicans and their backers developed amnesia and quickly forgot that Republicans got the Washington disfunction ball rolling by swearing never to work with the President FOUR YEARS AGO. They never changed their mind since. In other words, they want a Democratic to win the white house but implement Republican agenda. Otherwise, they will make him a one-term president.
    Now that the dysfunction is taking a bite, they refuse to call it like it is. He is a president, not a king. The problem is, and has always been, there are republicans who never wanted a black man in office. So nothing he does will ever be good enough; even to the detriment of the country.

    March 12, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  13. Ellen

    G. W. Bush

    It's time to get tough, Mr. President.

    He has, haven't you noticed? He's been tough on the American people that he cares absolutely nothing about. And his failed policies are really going to be tough on our future generations.

    March 12, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  14. Jonny B. Good

    Yes Obama's charm , is , offensive . Thank you CNN for getting this story correct . The only spin that comes from the White House is "reality re-engineering" , for poltical points , nothing of any substance . Obama needs to double down now and not negotiate anything with anyone, he was elected , and thats that . You go Mr. President , show them who's boss , bring the pain train , show them you are in charge .

    March 12, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  15. liberal disease

    charm? you mean harm!

    March 12, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  16. Voter

    Obama: Blah..blah...blah... Nothing gets done.

    March 12, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  17. Dan5404

    It's a total waste of time. The leaders of the GOP are bought and sold by big business billionaires and a couple of lobbyists, and those who would like to be moderate and compromise are afraid of their own right-wing party. Ryan's so-called "new plan" clearly shows that the complete obstruction of Obama's recovery of the economy is their only aim. They can't get the message that it's their policies, not some fluke that caused Obama to win by 5 million votes while the Tea Party and GOP House approval ratings are rock bottom. A cut-only austerity program would doom the economy, but maybe that's what they want. All these fiscal crises were created by the GOP, and sooner or later, one will put the final nail in the country's economic coffin. Sort of like a political murder-suicide., with the victim the American people.

    March 12, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  18. Dave

    Republican sleaze offensive will continue on forever.

    March 12, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  19. jpmichigan

    Obama has the opportunity to make things right, move the money around, get rid of waste, cut salaries, instead of doing so he closes the Peoples house. The White house has to many leaches with in, collection large salaries for just being there. Reported the White House alone has a 1.3 million dollar budget, something needs to go. Living high on the hog, while middle class Americans struggle to make ends meet. Obama has failed has President, he has shown to be self serving and very egotistical.

    March 12, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  20. Ray E. (Georgia)

    It remains to be seen of course, but the President may just be phsycing himself to finally support the cold hard facts and see the truth. Some people saw the writing on the wall a long time ago that liberal policies were doomed to failure. Now maybe, just maybe Obama is seeing the light that the conservatives were right all along. As of now his Adminstration is a complete failure and maybe he is finally realizing it.

    March 12, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  21. AprilElaine

    I just dont understand why the Republicans REFUSE to negotiate with the Democrats? Doesnt make sense. They would rather have America suffer consquences because they couldnt come to an agreement about the sequester? I think its time the Republicans swallow their pride and enter the 21st century like the rest of us. Its not about red or blue, or left and right, its about working together for the greater good. And anyone who cant see that shouldnt be in Congress.

    March 12, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |