News / USA

    Obama Hopes Charm Offensive Will Lead to Grand Bargain

    Obama Hopes Charm Offensive Will Lead To Grand Bargaini
    X
    March 16, 2013 10:29 PM
    President Barack Obama is spending more time with Republicans in Congress, hoping the change in tactics will lead them to compromise on the budget, immigration, gun control and other issues. VOA's Kent Klein reports from the White House.
    Obama Hopes Charm Offensive Will Lead To Grand Bargain
    Kent Klein
    President Barack Obama is spending more time with Republicans in Congress, hoping the change in tactics will lead them to compromise on the budget, immigration, gun control and other issues.

    If you've come to Washington for a tour of the White House, you're out of luck.

    Because President Obama and Republicans in Congress could not agree on legislation to prevent automatic government spending cuts, White House tours are canceled for now, and many other government operations are on hold.

    So Obama is trying a new approach, which the media are calling a "charm offensive."

    He has made several trips to Capitol Hill to meet with Republican and Democratic lawmakers, and has even treated a group of Senate Republicans to dinner.

    “Over the last several weeks, the press here in Washington has been reporting about ‘Obama’s charm offensive.’  ... [I'm] trying to see if we can break through some of the [nonsense] of our politics here," he said.

    So far, the response from Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner, has been cautiously positive. “Listen, I’m glad President Obama reached out yesterday and visited with our House Republican conference.  And I think we had an honest discussion.  But this is going to take more than dinner dates and phone calls," he said.

    Former legislative adviser Steve Bell, now at Washington's Bipartisan Policy Council, thinks the president's shift in tactics is a good move. “Really, the effectiveness of the tactics of attacking Republicans and, I won’t use the word demeaning, but, you know, really being quite harsh on Republicans, was backfiring," he said.

    President Obama's approval ratings in public opinion polls have slipped lately, and Bell says he now understands that he must work with Congress. "With his poll data going down a little bit, he’s intelligently changed his tactics, and it might bear some fruit," he said.

    The president told backers that he wants to help Republican lawmakers overcome pressure from their party to avoid compromising with him.  “Because I think a lot of them feel as if they don't have the opportunity to break out of some of this partisan gridlock," he said.

    While many in Washington are pessimistic about the chances for a deal in the coming months, Steve Bell predicts the Democratic-led Senate may reach agreements on a number of issues, which he says would prod House Republicans to do the same.

    "And it will then become incumbent on the House, led by Republicans by a relatively narrow margin but still led by Republicans, to say yes or no on immigration, yes or no on some sort of rational gun changes, yes or no on the grand bargain," he said.

    And if that happens, the White House doors will open again.

    You May Like

    Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora