President Gets Personal With Swing Senators

Holds highly unusual 1-on-1 meetings with stimulus holdouts
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 5, 2009 10:22 AM CST
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.   (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – President Obama is reaching across the aisle to moderate senators whose votes are crucial to passage of the economic stimulus bill. He put in a call to John McCain, who has been a vocal critic of the bill’s current incarnation. “We'd like to sit down and try to work something out that would be truly job creating,” McCain said after the conversation. And the president held 'remarkable' one-on-one with three swing senators, Politico reports.

Obama met in person—no aides present—with Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, both Republicans, and Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska.  “It was amazing," Collins said of their meeting. "Presidents don't do that.” The Democrats are two shy of the 60 votes needed to skip budget points of order, and Obama hopes the moderates he's lobbying could help make up the difference.