Wednesday, May 08, 2013

President Obama 'Enjoyed' His Dinner With House Democratic Leadership

First dinner with House Members in the President's tabletop diplomacy campaign covers the same ground as dinners with Senators...
President Obama was more than twenty minutes late for his dinner at the Jefferson Hotel on Wednesday night with ten House Democratic Leaders, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA-12).  The outing was President Obama's fifth in a series of Congressional outreach dinners with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, but his first with Members of the House.  The previous outings were with Senators.  (Above, an intimate moment with Pelosi in the Oval Office) 

The President "enjoyed" the dinner, a White House official said after the President returned to the White House at 9:29 PM after more than two hours of breaking bread.

The President "addressed a wide range of issues" with companions, including the deficit, immigration reform, gun control measures, "the need to grow the economy, create jobs and strengthen the middle class," and the ongoing investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing, said the White House official.  His other dinners covered the same issues.

The closed-press eat n' greet was held in a private room with a pre-set menu after the President arrived at the tony hotel at 6:53 PM for a dinner scheduled for 6:30 PM.  The President's motorcade battled a drizzle as it drove the few short blocks from the White House to the hotel.

In addition to Pelosi, the President was joined by Reps. Steny Hoyer (MD-5); James Clyburn (SC-6); Xavier Becerra (CA-34); Joe Crowley (NY-14); Chris Van Hollen (MD-8); Rosa DeLauro (CT-3); Rob Andrews (NJ-1); Steve Israel (NY-2) and Mike Thompson (CA-5).

"Tonight, the President enjoyed dinner with members of House Democratic Caucus.  The President and the members addressed a wide range of issues, including the need to grow the economy, create jobs and strengthen the middle class," said the White House official (sic).

"The President also discussed ongoing efforts to find common ground with both sides to reduce our deficit in a balanced way.  The group also discussed progress being made on a number of other issues including passing comprehensive immigration reform, commonsense measures to reduce gun violence and expanding access to high-quality education.  The President also discussed ongoing efforts to ensure all resources remain available as a part of the investigation into the explosions in Boston and commended law enforcement efforts."

There was special thanks for the lawmakers, and a pledge to keep working.

"The President thanked House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and the other members for their leadership and looks forward to continuing these important conversations," said the White House official.

The DNC will pick up the tab for the event, the White House has confirmed, though the President personally footed the bill for his two previous dinners for Senators at the hotel.  His other two dinners were held at the White House.  

The dinner came on the heels of the House voting 223-204 earlier on Wednesday to pass a bill that allows employees to choose comp time off instead of overtime pay.  The President has threatened a veto.

On Monday, the President played 15 holes of golf with three Senators as part of his outreach effort, rather than going to dinner.

President Obama heads to Austin, Texas on Thursday for a day trip to launch his "Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tours."


*Photo by Pete Souza/White House, December 2010