POLITICO: Starting Tuesday, Obama will shuttle between basement House meeting rooms and ornate Senate parlors, giving Republicans and Democrats a rare opportunity over three days to press him directly on how far he’s willing to go on taxes and entitlements to complete a comprehensive deal — a major piece of unfinished business from his first term.
The shuttle diplomacy is a new tactic for the president, who kept his distance from Congress for most of his presidency. He seems to believe that if he looks Republicans in the eye and explains his plan, they will think he sincerely wants a big deal to contain the deficit and honestly wants to tackle the big problems, despite the large policy gulf between them.
Obama allies say that the president might be able to convert a few Republicans if he listens to their concerns, and gives them consideration. But the differences between the two parties aren’t surface-level issues that can be smoothed over by coddling. They are deep and defining principles. If Obama fails to hit the right notes, his overtures may only exacerbate GOP concerns… (more)