Post Election, Obama Sets Date for Bipartisan Talks at The White House

By Maya

Nov 4, 2010 10:40am

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports: Noting that the dust is still settling after Election Day, President Obama said that it is “critically important” over the coming months to create “a better working relationship” between the White House and Congressional leadership. In the aftermath of Tuesday’s election, which flipped control of the House of Representatives over to the Republicans, President Obama announced that he has invited John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi to the White House for bipartisan meetings in the first week of the lame duck session, on Thursday, November 18th. “This is going to be a meeting in which I want us to talk substantively about how we can move the American people’s agenda forward,” Obama said from the Cabinet Room of the White House this morning, “It’s not just going to be a photo-op. Hopefully it may spill over into dinner.” Mr. Obama said there is a whole range of work that needs to get done in a relatively short period of time and is looking forward to hearing from the leadership the agenda items they may be concerned about. The president said the immediate focus during these meetings will be on what needs to get done during the lame duck session – and ticked though a few of those priorities – tax cuts, unemployment insurance, and business extenders. On foreign policy, the president said that the he is “hopeful” that they can also get the START treaty ratified before the end of the year in order to “send a strong signal to Russia that we are serious about reducing nuclear arsenals, but also send a signal to the world that we’re serious about nonproliferation.” The president has also invited the newly elected Democratic and Republican governors to the White House on December 2nd. The president had earlier met with his cabinet and key staff and told them that they have to take the message sent by voters “to heart,” and make a “sincere and consistent effort” to try to change how Washington operates. “I think it’s clear that the voters sent a message, which is they want us to focus on the economy and jobs, and moving this country forward,” he said with his Cabinet around him. “They’re concerned about making sure that taxpayer money is not wasted. And they want a change of tone here in Washington, where the two parties are coming together and focusing on the people’s business as opposed to scoring political points.” The president said that the nation can’t afford two years of just squabbling. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. People are still catching their breath from the election. The dust is still settling. But the one thing I’m absolutely certain of is that the American people don’t want us just standing still, and they don’t want us engaged in gridlock. They want us to do the people’s business, partly because they understand that the world is not standing still.” No word from the White House if Slurpees will be served at this summit. -Sunlen Miller

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