President Obama didn’t impress many Republicans with plans he outlined in Wednesday night’s State of the Union speech.
As Republicans huddled with the press Thursday morning, Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) came out swinging at Mr. Obama.
Dreier noted he’s sat through 30 Joint Sessions since he first came to Congress in the early 1980s. But this one really got his goat.
“I don’t remember one that was more partisan than this one,” Dreier said. “Taking on the Supreme Court? Looking to us and saying we should ignore the polls and do what is right?”
President Obama may not have seen it that way. During his speech, the president indicated he’d like to schedule monthly meetings with the Congressional Republican brain trust. At the time, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) smiled and sort of held up both hands, palms open. When asked about whether President Obama’s outreach efforts, Boehner was terse.
“We’ll see,” Boehner said skeptically.
When pressed further, Boehner noted that he has “never refused an invitation to meet with the president.”
Mr. Obama travels to Baltimore Friday to speak to the annual House Republican retreat. And despite their disappointment, GOPers remain interested in interacting with the president.
“This is not an opportunity for one more presidential speech,” said House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-IN). Pence said he wanted an exchange of ideas.
“We hope it may facilitate the president to consider our agenda,” Pence added.
Republicans are energized. They’re fresh on the heels of the election of Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-MA) which stymied the health care reform bill. Pence argued that many Americans expected to hear the president outline a different blueprint Wednesday night.
“People were leaning into their TV sets and hoping there would be a change in the change that had come to Washington,” he said.
And Republicans suggested if there isn’t change, voters could reward the GOP this fall.
“They’re not enamored with us,” Boehner conceded. But he noted that GOP election wins in Massachusetts, and the gubernatorial contests last fall in Virginia and New Jersey bodes well for Republicans.
“People can take a chance on us because they’ve seen what they other team can do,” Boehner said ominously.