Obama Gets Ovation, Grilling From House GOP

His outreach continues, but two sides remain far apart

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 13, 2013 7:06 PM CDT

(Newser) – President Obama continued his Republican outreach today with his toughest critics, House Republicans, and not a whole lot seems to have changed as a result. But the president did get standing ovations when he arrived and when he left, reports an impressed Jonathan Karl at ABC News. And both sides were civil about the hour-long meeting afterward, with John Boehner praising the "very frank and candid exchange"—which is "classic Washington vernacular," notes the Hill—and the White House calling it a "good, substantive exchange," reports Politico. In terms of actual policy differences, though, Darrell Issa sums it up for the New York Times:

  • “Well, he doesn’t want to balance the budget in 10 years, and he wants tax increases and he wants new spending. But other than that we’re close.”

The first part is a reference to Paul Ryan's recently released budget, which lays out a path to a budget surplus in a decade. The president, however, made clear that it's not a priority for him. Despite that, Ryan said Obama "did himself some good" with today's meeting. Most stories recount a lighter moment: When an aide handed Obama a note informing him of the white smoke at the Vatican, Rep. Billy Long shouted, "Does that mean we'll have tours at the White House?" Obama responded something to the effect that Vatican tours were available, reports Roll Call.

President Obama turns to reporters as he leaves Capitol Hill after his closed-door meeting with House Speaker John Boehner and Republican lawmakers.
President Obama turns to reporters as he leaves Capitol Hill after his closed-door meeting with House Speaker John Boehner and Republican lawmakers.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President Obama turns to reporters as he leaves Capitol Hill  after his closed-door meeting with House Speaker John Boehner and Republican lawmakers.
President Obama turns to reporters as he leaves Capitol Hill after his closed-door meeting with House Speaker John Boehner and Republican lawmakers.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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