Obama Invites Himself to GOP Lunch

by Robert Costa

In a speech this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said President Obama “has extended an invitation” to Senate Republicans to speak at their weekly luncheon on Tuesday. “But I haven’t heard back from the Republicans as to whether they wish to hear from the president,” Reid lamented.

Senate Republican insiders tell me that’s not true. “As far as we know, he hasn’t reached out and he isn’t coming,” says one aide familiar with the Senate GOP’s schedule. “The White House hasn’t been in touch.” Another aide agrees: “This is just a mess. Here Reid is, saying this on the floor, without really knowing or communicating with us.”

Reid’s remark, both aides say, reflects the poor job the White House is doing to win Republican votes to authorize the use of force in Syria. Instead of coordinated outreach by Obama advisers, there is confusion and criticism.

UPDATE: A Senate aide e-mails:

After calling the White House today, we learned that the President would like to attend the Senate GOP lunch tomorrow to discuss the Syria resolution. He is welcome to join the lunch, and we are told that he will in fact attend.