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 sought 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.
The 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)