President Barack Obama said he wants Democrats and Republicans to realize they share many interests, an appeal for cooperation as congressional leaders sat down together to dine Wednesday evening at the White House.
Obama welcomed the Democratic chairmen of congressional committees and the ranking Republicans on those committees, along with their spouses, to a packed East Room for dinner. About 200 people joined Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and their wives for the latest efffort in the administration's charm offensive, coming in the midst of congressional consideration of a $410 billion spending bill and future debate over Obama's $3.6 trillion budget proposal for the next year.
Obama, whose economic stimulus plan passed with only three Republican votes in the Senate, acknowledged it was not going to be an easy road.
"We are go to have some monumental debates taking place over the next several months and years," Obama said during his brief welcome.
"We also know that we're not always going to agree on everything, but given how hard so many of you are working on both sides of the aisle — day in, day out — we thought it was important for us to step back for a moment, remind ourselves that we have things in common — family, friends, laughter — and hopefully we'll have a chance to appreciate each other a little bit, take a time-out before we dive back into the game."
FLOTUS outfit info, here