Obama dines with conservative columnists

January 14, 2009

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama says he is prepared to listen to all voices as he tries to rescue the U.S. economy from deep recession. He has also OBAMAsought to portray himself as a unifier after the deeply divisive presidency of his soon-to-be predecessor George W. Bush.
So, in that context, his attendance at a dinner party on Tuesday night at the home of George Will, one of the United States’ best-known conservative columnists, is probably not too surprising.
Guests at Will’s dinner party reportedly included William Kristol, a founder and editor of The Weekly Standard and a leader of the neoconservative movement that was so influential in the Bush administration.
Also reportedly in attendance were David Brooks of the New York Times, Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post, Michael Barone of U.S. News & World Report, Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal, Larry Kudlow of CNBC and Paul Gigot of the Wall Street Journal.
OBAMAThe left-wing blog, The Huffington Post, reassured readers that the dinner did not mean that Obama was selling out to the right. “Talking with them is a shrewd move on Obama’s part,” wrote senior editor Jacob Heilbrunn.
“It indicates that Obama is completing the job of detaching the conservative intellectual elite from the GOP itself,” he said.
Obama’s traveling media pool stayed outside Will’s upmarket Chevy Chase home, but an aide said in a statement later: “President-elect Obama had dinner this evening with columnists at the home of George Will.
“He will attend similar gatherings in the months to come, including one at his transition headquarters tomorrow.”
It is not known what they discussed, but Obama stayed for about two-and-a-half hours.
Oh, to have been a fly on the wall.
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Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Security on porch roof at George Will’s house; Obama entering the house for dinner)


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This is the mark of a smart, self assured leader, who understands the United States is as much a collection of ideologies, as well as, people. Bravo Barack. Such a turnaround from the dark days of a President who could not bring himself to listen, much less converse intelligently, with those who might have had a different view poit.

Posted by ken | Report as abusive

Ohhh, to have been a fly on the wall indeed…….

I can understand if the left wing is nervous about this. I would be too.

Posted by Damon | Report as abusive

“Oh to be a fly on the wall”
Secret Service cleared the room of all Fly’s prior to 44’s arrival.

Posted by Sal | Report as abusive

I used to respect this guy but not anymore. I could care less of what he does from here on. Does Obama actually think he can get some conservatives on his site. Obama will never get conservatives to vote for him or any of these writers to write anything good about him. These are the same writers who thrashed Obama before. But I am afraid in trying to please the shrinking conservatives he may actually antagonize much of his liberal base and eventually become a non-effective President.


Posted by Tony Pate | Report as abusive

Reaching across the aisle. I doubt it. I don’t believe there is much any difference between the democrat and republican party. Divide and conquer. I don’t trust Obama for one second and I sure would not have trusted McCain, Clinton, Huckabee, or any of them. Well, except Dr. Pual of course he is the exception to the rule.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

It is a safe environment for Obama, because the conservatives are not nasty and won’t be nasty like the liberal columnists were toward Bush from the first day of his presidency.

It certainly isn’t because Obama is shrewd. He just knows he won’t be treated the same way Bush was.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

Tony Pate – I couldn’t disagree with you more. What’s the difference between having dinner with a group of people who don’t usually agree with you and talking to Iranians, or Cubans? By the way, you must not read the work of those people who attended the dinner. I don’t know about all of them, but Brooks has certainly written some complimentary columns about Obama. I guess you weren’t listening when Obama said there’s not a red and blue America, or a white & black America, etc., there is the United States of America. His life experiences are so different from yours and mine that, I think, people have a very difficult time understanding what he says, and does.

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive