WASHINGTON - The White House says President Barack Obama picked up the dinner tab at a tony Washington restaurant where he had dinner with 12 Republican senators.
Obama is making rare overtures to rank-and-file Republicans in an apparent attempt to bypass GOP leaders. He hopes to jumpstart budget talks and rally support for his proposals on immigration and gun control. Campaign-style events failed to prevent $85 billion in automatic budget cuts that both sides said they wanted to avoid.
The dinner was held at a hotel restaurant not far from the White House. Joining Obama were Sens. Lindsey Graham, Tom Coburn, John McCain, Kelly Ayotte, Pat Toomey, Bob Corker, Ron Johnson, Saxby Chambliss, John Hoeven, Dan Coats, Richard Burr and Mike Johanns.
The lawmakers joining the president for dinner may be less concerned with the political implications of sitting down with the Democratic president. Only Graham faces re-election next year.
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