Jan. 27, 2009
"Feel free to whack me over the head because I probably will not compromise on that part."
President Obama in a private meeting with House Republicans, after being asked if there was room for negotiation on the structure of the biggest tax cut in the stimulus bill
"I think we will have Republican support for this bill."
Robert Gibbs, White House press secretary, assuring reporters that he expects the President to get backing from Republicans on the stimulus bill
Presidents don't make the trek up Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill often, so Obama's visit there just eight days into office to meet with House and Senate Republicans no less is intended to show how important bipartisan support for this stimulus package is to him. Still, reports coming out of the closed-door meeting suggest that the session ended with little promise of compromise on the core issue of how to foster economic growth. Obama also reportedly stands firm on the part of his some $800 billion stimulus plan that calls for tax rebates for nearly all working Americans, including some, much to the dismay of Republicans, who make too little to owe income taxes.
Obama's press secretary hails the meeting as successful, but the President recognizes in remarks to the press afterward that "there are some legitimate philosophical differences" between Democrats and Republicans on how to fix the economy, and while he doesn't expect 100% agreement, he hopes that "we can put politics aside."