WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6: DINING WITH BARACK. President Barack Obama's new effort to personally reach out to Republican U.S. senators has included New Hampshire freshman Kelly Ayotte.
We've confirmed that Ayotte received a telephone call personally from the President on Tuesday afternoon and has been invited to be among about a dozen GOP senators to have dinner with Obama on Wednesday night.
(For earlier Granite Status reports, click on "Granite Status" above)
"They had a brief conversation and he invited her to dinner tonight," a source in Ayotte's office said Wednesday.
The Washington Post reported the dinner is scheduled to take place at The Jefferson Hotel, weather permitting.
The Post has described the series of calls being made by Obama to Republicans as a new "charm offensive" to bypass leadership and go to the rank-and-file. In the calls, the Post reported, the President has expressed a willingness to reform health and retirement programs if they agree to raise taxes to address the national debt.
White House press secretary Jay Carney has reportedly said the conversations have focused mostly on the budget but also on other issues.
The Post said other GOP senators invited to dinner and who plan to attend include John McCain of Arizona, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Dan Coats of Indiana and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.