President Obama continued his diplomatic offensive on Capitol Hill today, meeting with House Democrats. Earlier this week he met with House and Senate Republicans, as well as Democratic Senators. Some members of the California delegation have mixed reactions to the President’s mission.
President Obama spent Wednesday afternoon with House Republicans, like John Campbell of Irvine. Campbell describes the conversation as "certainly respectful," but he says no differences were bridged. The president took questions on everything from immigration to the Keystone pipeline to the impasse over the budget. Campbell says Mr. Obama didn't offer anything new "and I don't think we really offered anything new."
The president should have had an easier time Thursday, preaching to the choir of fellow Democrats in the House. But Long Beach Democrat Alan Lowenthal says "he told the choir, 'hey, we're going to compromise.'" Congressman Lowenthal says the President told Democrats to be open to entitlement reform – like raising the age for Medicare and changing the inflation calculation for Social Security benefits – if Republicans agree to close tax loopholes.
Can the President’s visit can break the logjam in Congress? "All you can do is hope," says Lowenthal. Campbell says it hasn't changed a thing.
The visits to Capitol Hill may be good practice for the President’s diplomatic mission next week to the Middle East.