(WASHINGTON) — President Obama made his first direct overture to Republicans on immigration Tuesday night, placing calls to the three key GOP players on the issue in the Senate: John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Marco Rubio (Fla).
The calls followed a remark by Rubio calling a White House immigration plan that leaked over the weekend “half-baked and seriously flawed.”
Rubio says he appreciated the call (though he may have been roused from bed to take it; he’s in Israel):
“Senator Rubio appreciated receiving President Obama’s phone call to discuss immigration reform late tonight in Jerusalem,” according to a statement from Rubio’s office. “The Senator told the President that he feels good about the ongoing negotiations in the Senate, and is hopeful the final product is something that can pass the Senate with strong bipartisan support.”
Earlier Tuesday, Rubio’s office told reporters there had been no immigration policy discussion between the senator and the White House.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney disputed that, however.
“We have been in contact with everybody involved in this effort on Capitol Hill,” he said.
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