Obama Gives Lawmakers on Both Sides More Say

New prez wooing votes for economic plans
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Jan 20, 2009 9:21 AM CST
President Bush meets with John McCain, Barack Obama, and congressional leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – So far, Barack Obama’s line about disagreeing without being disagreeable isn’t just lip service. The Wall Street Journal reports that the president-elect and his team have been talking in good faith with members of Congress—including Republicans—about economic policy. Says one senator whom they unsuccessfully lobbied to support releasing bailout money: “These are bright guys, and I do very much believe they're starting out on the right track.”

The half-dozen Republicans who did support releasing those TARP funds may have done so thanks to the courtship of top Obama aides—particularly an uncharacteristically humble Larry Summers—or from personal phone calls from the president-elect himself. Another sign of the new style: On the stimulus plan that passed the House, Obama let legislative leaders flesh out the details, something team Bush rarely did on major initiatives.