Second Date: Obama, Republicans to Dine Again

(CNN)-- President Barack Obama's congressional courtship continues as he's set to dine with a new group of Senate Republicans next month.

A spokeswoman for Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, said the president approached their office about a week ago and asked them to put together a list of 12 Republican senators.

A White House spokesperson confirmed the president will attend the dinner.

The group is different from the first pack of GOP lawmakers from the upper chamber, whom Obama dined with three weeks ago at an upscale restaurant in Washington. The dinner was described by different attendees as "honest," "interactive," and "cordial"--and signaled a shift in approach by the chief executive to cultivate alliances with rivals who have stood opposed to his policy proposals.

A week later, he went to Capitol Hill to meet with the caucuses and conferences of both parties.
 While the date for the dinner next month has been set for April 10, the location and time has not been arranged, according to Isakson's office.

"Senator Isakson invited a cross section of senators that he thought would be interested to discuss the debt, deficit, sequestration. He thinks the only way to solve these problems is for people to sit down and discuss them," his spokeswoman, Lauren Culbertson told CNN.

Obama has attempted to reach rank-and-file lawmakers, who he's largely avoided in budget negotiations, choosing instead to work with the party's leadership. Social events with lawmakers were also largely absent from his calendar during his first term and the president was criticized for that from some members of Congress, including Democrats.


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