In what Senate Republican aides are describing as a "gracious" bid by the White House to warm up to lawmakers, the president and vice president hosted a reception yesterday afternoon after the senators held their first retreat since losing the majority last November. Locked away inside the Library of Congress, the senators went over their 2007 agenda and themes.
"We're planning for the priorities of this Congress and are finding solutions to the major problems," said a key leadership aide. Themes and communication techniques topped the agenda. White House spokesman Tony Snow was scheduled as the luncheon speaker.
"We're trying to get Tony Snow to better explain to us how to communicate effectively," said a key GOP aide. "We are staying in Washington so that we can really focus on these issues."
Typically, the Senate GOP retreat is held outside Washington, and the president flies in to address it. This time it was kept in D.C. to be more convenient for the lawmakers and president.
By Paul Bedard