President Obama will submit to a polite but pointed grilling from his Republican Senate adversaries in the Capitol’s LBJ room Tuesday afternoon, a rare show of bipartisanship in an increasingly hostile city.
Republican aides say they expect a respectful tone from the 41 members of the minority during the closed-door session, despite an accumulated frustration among members of the caucus.
“They’ll be nice,” said one leadership aide. “When you have a president, especially if it’s not on camera where people are preening, it tends to be respectful and calm. There’s no yelling or screaming.”
As another senator’s aide said: “It’s not going to be like the House.”
But that doesn’t mean the questions for Obama will be easy, or without a tinge of anger at a president who — according to many who will be in the room — is taking the country in the wrong direction.
Top on the list, according to GOP sources, will be debt and spending, which is a hot topic as the Congress considers supplemental spending bills that Republicans say will add to the nation’s deficit.