(WASHINGTON) — President Obama has been busy recently, his schedule filled with lunch and dinner dates with Republican leaders as part of his new charm offensive. Republicans seem to be receptive to Obama’s new tune.
“If we’re going to really get to an agreement, this is a good step,” Wisconsin’s Senator Ron Johnson, told George Stephanopoulos on ABC News’ This Week. “You have to start meeting with people. You have to start developing relationships. You’ve got to spend a fair amount of time figuring out what we agree on first.”
Most Republicans also seem to be rejecting the notion that the charm offensive is nothing but a political front, and believe that Obama is truly dedicated to dealing with the sequester.
“I’m welcoming with open arms. I think the president is tremendously sincere. I don’t think this is just a political change in tactic,” Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
“It’s time to start leading, and the way you do that is quit poking your finger in people’s eyes and start building relationships, and I think he’s got a great chance to accomplish a big deal,” he said. “But, you know, you’ve got a lot of scabs and sores on people that it’s going to take a while for that to heal.”
Republican Representative Paul Ryan was appreciative of the Obama’s change in tone, noting that this was the first time he had actually had a chance to really talk to the president, despite running against him in 2012.
“I’ve never really had a conversation with him, on these issues before. I am excited that we had the conversation,” Ryan said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.
Democrats also said the president’s outreach to the other side of the isle was a positive step.
“I think the meetings are a good idea because you understand each other better and you may get a measure of courage,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said on CNN’s State of the Union. “All of us come here to get a job done for the American people, and certainly that is the case with the president of the United States. He’s been very bipartisan in his approach.”
Republican Representative Cory Gardner of Colorado said he liked the charm offensive, and thought it was a promising step, but he doesn’t expect the outreach to result in an agreement right away, saying on NBC’s Meet the Press, “I hope that he’s genuine, but I don’t think we’ll be doing the Harlem Shake anytime soon.”
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Eric Bradner, Shimon Prokupecz and Dan Merica, CNN
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
Scott Stuntz, Teton Valley News
Kevin Liptak, CNN