America

White House Summit: Bipartisan Breakthrough Or Bust?

Political junkies will be watching the White House closely this morning, as President Obama sits down with Congressional leaders for their first "summit" since Republicans did so well in the midterm elections — gaining control of the House and narrowing the Democrats' advantage in the Senate.

Our NPR colleague Liz Halloran writes that:

"Topping the official agenda are the Bush-era tax cuts that are set to expire in the current lame-duck congressional session, and the ratification of a new nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia.

"But the sit-down is really more about calming the heated rhetoric of the campaign trail, where Obama referred to congressional Republicans as 'enemies' and McConnell and Boehner pledged to block any White House initiative going into the 2012 campaign."

Politico cautions, though, that:

"The problem for Obama is that GOP leaders have little incentive to cut any deals in the lame-duck congressional session — the better to capitalize on their new House majority in January — and have no appetite for major compromise on the extension of Bush-era tax cuts or their deficit-cutting platform."

The get-together is supposed to get started at 10:30 a.m. ET and last about an hour. Afterward, we'll watch for comments from the lawmakers, the president and their aides.

In the meantime:

Update at 1:05 p.m. ET: The "summit" is over. Obama says he's "encouraged" by the discussion.

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