‘Charm Offensive': Obama To Host GOP Senators At White House For Dinner

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — President Barack Obama’s “charm offensive” continues Wednesday night as he hosts Republican senators at the White House for dinner.

This dinner was put together by Sen. Johnny Isakson after Obama met with a dozen GOP senators last month at a hotel near the White House.

According to CBS News, Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and John Thune, R-S.D., will be joining Isakson at the White House.

The latest “charm offensive” comes as Obama unveils his $3.8 trillion spending plan that has irked both Democrats and Republicans. Liberal lawmakers are against the president’s budget because it makes cuts into Social Security and Medicare while Republicans are opposed to higher taxes.

The president’s proposal includes an additional $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade, bringing total deficit savings to $4.3 trillion, based on the administration’s calculations.

The Obama administration even says this is not the president’s “ideal plan.”

A key feature of Obama’s budget, the chained Consumer Price Index is a new formula for calculating inflation. It would effectively curb annual increases in a broad swath of government programs, but would have its biggest impact on Social Security

Obama is also proposing $305 billion in cuts to Medicare over a decade as part of $1.8 trillion in deficit-reduction over a decade. The White House has said Obama will only agree to those cuts if Republicans agree to higher taxes.

Obama has spent much of the past month pursuing warmer relations with Republicans in Congress whose votes he needs to enact his agenda. Republicans on the receiving end of Obama’s ongoing “charm offensive” say his partisan tone when he leaves Washington makes them question his sincerity when he says he’s willing to meet Republicans halfway.

“He’s doing a pretty lousy job of it,” Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican Party, said in an interview. “If he was someone who was as conciliatory as he proclaims to be, you would think he would have a few decent relationships with Republicans, but he doesn’t. Instead, he spends most of his time campaigning.”

White House officials are mindful of the balancing act Obama must carry out to avoid undermining relations with Republican lawmakers when he hits the campaign trail for Democrats.

“The president’s appeal to his supporters won’t interfere with his continued efforts to work with Republicans to move that agenda through the Congress,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Obama followed up his first dinner with Republicans last month with three straight days of visits to Capitol Hill for separate meetings with Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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