President Obama to Speak at Both Republican, and Democratic Conferences

By Lindsey Ellerson

Jan 12, 2010 5:55pm

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports: President Obama will not only speak at this week’s House Democratic Conference, but the White House now confirms that the president is slated to speak at the House Republican Conference next week as well. The annual Democratic retreat in Washington, D.C. is on Thursday. Republicans hold their retreat next Thursday and Friday in Baltimore, Maryland. The president’s attendance at both retreats is a show of bipartisanship in otherwise fiercely partisan times, as Capitol Hill attempts to move forward on health care reform. His visit to both retreats comes just about one year after he was inaugurated as president under the promise of braking the bipartisanship barrier in Washington, D.C. “I’m a big believer in working with the other side of the aisle,” then-Senator Obama said in March of 2008 in Kissimmee, Florida “Even if we've got a majority of democrats, I think it’s very important to listen to Republicans, to respect them….. I want to have a weekly meeting with Republican and Democratic leaders to talk about the economy, to talk about foreign policy, so that we're actually trying to solve problems away from the TV cameras, not trying to score political points.” Some Republicans might not agree that President Obama has lived up to his pledge for bipartisanship.
While praising President Obama’s decision to speak to the House Republicans, House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) pointed out that some Republicans didn’t find the White House as open for discussion as they would have liked. “In 2009, on the rare occasion when we were invited to the White House,” Cantor said today in a written statement, “the President paid Republican proposals lip service while the cameras were on, only to completely rebuff those ideas afterward. The problems faced by our country have grown too large for the President to respond to Republican and Independent views and solutions with indifference, like in 2009. I hope this is a sign that a new year will bring change.” -Sunlen Miller

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