Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Eric Cantor Invited For Dinner With Biden - Update

As President publicly chides GOP, House Majority Leader dines privately with Vice President...
Update below...
During a speech today at Washington, DC's Key Bridge, President Obama once again chastised Republican leadership for failing to pass his jobs bill. But this evening, one GOP leader gets a little Administration love: Vice President Joe Biden has invited House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) to have dinner at his Washington, DC residence. The White House didn't say why the two are dining together, but it comes on the heels of the President and Vice President hosting Oval Office meetings with House and Senate Democratic leadership over the past two days--with no equivalent meetings for their GOP counterparts. (Above: The President and Cantor during a White House meeting last November)

"In the evening, at 7:00 PM, the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden will host House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Mrs. Diana Cantor for dinner at the Naval Observatory," noted the White House announcement.

Update, 2:00 PM: Carney says the dinner is social, and he wants to crash it...
Asked by reporters at today's press briefing what the dinner is all about, Press Secretary Jay Carney said it's a social event, but is in service to improved relations with the GOP. Biden and Cantor "developed a close relationship, Carney said, "during their prolonged negotiations earlier this year" over the debt ceiling.

"My understanding is that this is something that the two gentlemen had wanted to do for some time, and they finally got it on the schedule," Carney said.

Carney pointed out that Biden, thanks to 36 years in the Senate before becoming Vice President, appreciates "collegial" relations with those from the other side of the aisle, and wants to encourage these.

"He remembers that time fondly, and he certainly believes that any restoration of that kind of collegial atmosphere serves a greater purpose," Carney said.

"If I weren’t flying to the G20 tonight, I might invite myself to come along," he added.

The dinner comes after the President and Vice President have a private lunch today, in the Private Dining Room. It is the first "social event" noted on Biden's schedule in recent months.

*Photo by Pete Souza/White House, taken on Nov. 30, 2010 "at the conclusion of a bipartisan Congressional leadership meeting in the Oval Office Private Dining Room. The meeting was attended only by the principals with no staff present."

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