Reports: Obama And GOP Senators Clash At Private Meeting

May 25, 2010 2:41 p.m.
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Senate Republicans used a lot of words to describe their meeting with President Obama today: “audacity,” “nerve,” “frayed,” “testy” … you get the picture.Obama and the GOP Senate caucus, meeting together for the first time in a year, discussed bipartisanship as well as some of the more pressing issues of the day. According to the AP, the “eruption” began when the President promised to meet the GOP halfway on a number of issues.

“I told him I thought there was a degree of audacity in him even showing up today after what happened with financial regulation,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) told the AP. “I asked him how he was able to reconcile that duplicity, coming in today to see us.”

Corker reportedly told the President that he didn’t believe Obama was trying to be genuinely bipartisan.

Corker later told Greg Sargent that he thought his comments “hit a nerve” and that the President responded with “quite a lengthy response.”

“I think feelings are frayed, maybe, on both sides of the aisle,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), told the AP.

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) told The Washington Post that the meeting was “testy,” while Sen. John Thune (R-SD) called it a “lively discussion.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) took up a discussion with the President on a different matter: immigration and Arizona’s controversial new law. The Washington Post categorized it as the “most contentious moment” of the meeting.

“I pointed out that members of his administration who have not read the law have mischaracterized the law — a very egregious act on their part,” McCain told the AP.

“He needs to take a Valium before he comes in and talks to Republicans,” Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) said of Obama. “He’s pretty thin-skinned.”

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs acknowledged “differences” on the issues, but said that “the president believes that direct dialogue is better than posturing, and he was pleased to have the opportunity to share views with the conference.”

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