A Harbringer of Actual Bi-Partisanship?

This is at least an encouraging sign (from USA Today):

In contrast to his Democratic predecessors, Obama can’t seem to get enough feedback from Congress. He chats regularly with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the deputy majority leader, is one of the president-elect’s mentors.

Obama also has reached out to the lesser-known lawmakers. The president-elect telephoned leaders of the Blue Dog Coalition to reassure the fiscally conservative Democrats that he’s serious about reducing the deficit, even though his stimulus plan would run it up in the short term.

Obama’s calls to GOP lawmakers, though, have caused the most surprise. “Yeah, right,” is what Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi said he first thought when Obama left a voice message on his answering machine at his Capitol Hill apartment.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the top-ranking Republican on the House Foreign Relations Committee, hung up twice on Obama before being convinced it wasn’t a phone prank.

The president-elect also dispatched Emanuel last month to meet with two key Republican conservatives who just won House leadership posts, including incoming House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia. “Right now,” Cantor said, “the problems are so big, the stakes are so high, I don’t think they want to be out there alone trying to address these gargantuan issues.”


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