It may sound counterintuitive, but the White House says a postponed meeting with Republicans is a sign that the president and newly empowered GOP can work together following the midterms.
The spark of bipartisanship is buried somewhere in the cancelation of a high profile dinner the White House scheduled for November 18TH --- a working meeting between Obama and House and Senate Republican leaders. According to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, the postponed session is a sign that "bipartisanship is happening."
Pressed by skeptical reporters at a White House briefing on Wednesday, Gibbs put a positive spin on both the Republican request to postpone the meeting until after Thanksgiving, as well as Obama's decision to play nice and reschedule it. "We've all agreed to more meetings, " Gibbs said. "And that's a good thing."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (expected to be the next speaker of the house) site scheduling conflicts in organizing their caucuses as the reason for requesting a new meeting date of November 30th. " McConnell said in a statement on Wednesday, "I'm looking forward to that meeting." His spokesman Don Stewart told Politico, this week was too crowded with orientation for newly elected members of congress for a meaningful bipartisan summit with the White House.
At the off-camera briefing Wednesday, Gibbs took no issue with that reported explanation from Republicans. "The test is not when the meeting is held. It's whether the two sides can work together to make progress," said Gibbs."We've met the first test of getting along. We agreed to delay the meeting." Both sides would also agree, the next test involves much more than scheduling White House and Congressional day planners. Indeed, the agenda for the meeting includes politically complicated issues like tax cuts, job creating and digging the country out of a recession.