President Obama personally paid for a dinner out in Washington for a dozen Republican senators, the White House has confirmed.
The dinner, which took place at the Jefferson Hotel, is part of an ongoing charm offensive as Obama looks to cut a budget deal with rank-and-file Republicans rather than GOP leadership. The meal lasted over two hours.
Asked how the conversation went, Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (Okla.) both flashed reporters a thumbs-up sign.
Along with McCain and Coburn, the attendees were Sens. Bob Corker (Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Dan Coats (Ind.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Mike Johanns (Neb.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), John Hoeven (N.D.) and Saxby Chambliss (Ga.).
“The President greatly enjoyed the dinner and had a good exchange of ideas with the Senators,” a senior administration official said.
The dinner took place as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and several senators — including one Democrat – maintain a talking filibuster against John Brennan, Obama’s nominee to lead the CIA.