Inside Obama’s ‘candid’ meeting with House Republicans

President Obama met with House Republicans on Wednesday afternoon, something he hasn't done in years.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) described the meeting was "productive" and a "very frank and candid exchange of ideas" at a brief press conference. But he went on to say that the president simply does not want to balance the  budget, solve our long-term debt problem or tap into the country's energy resources. 

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) focused more on points of agreement, telling reporters that there is some "low-hanging fruit" that the White House and House Republicans could come together on. But, he said, there can be no agreement unless the president is willing to set aside his demands for more tax revenue. "I hope the president is sincere," he said.

Lawmakers in the meeting said that Obama laid out both sides of the debate over the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, without hinting which way he leaned.

Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) suggest the lawmakers didn't believe Obama's explanation that the Secret Service, not the administration, suspended White House tours due to sequester cuts.

Obama also argued against the necessity of a balanced budget.

Both Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) got standing ovations from the caucus.

The private meeting is part of a White House charm offensive aimed at producing a bipartisan deal on deficit reduction. After failing to strike a deal with GOP leaders, Obama hopes to find common ground with rank-and-file Republican lawmakers.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.
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