January 30th, 2010
07:17 AM ET

Dear President Obama #376: Now, tee up your Democrats

Reporter's Note: President Obama had a pretty hard core sit down with the GOP crowd over their differences. It produced a wild array of headlines, and of course, a subject for my daily letter to the White House.

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

This meeting you had with the Republicans created quite a stir in D.C., and I must say I like the idea of more like it. Throw the whole bunch, Dems, Repubs, and Indies into a room; toss in an idea like a fumbled football, and let them thrash it out under the TV lights. What fun! It kind of goes along with my longstanding idea that political races should actually be “races.” But that’s for another day.

Back on topic: There is a widespread sense that this was a case of you taking on the opposition; standing up in the lion’s den, refuting their most egregious false claims, and calling them to join in a new effort of honesty, openness and cooperation. Now, I have a one sentence suggestion that, I suspect, can make all the difference in whether that initiative proves effective: Do the same thing with the Democrats.

You don’t have to spend more than a day chatting up the power players in the Capitol, to realize that each party has an ample supply of folks who are quick to blame the opposition for anything that goes wrong, who readily cite incomplete statistics or evidence, and who raise the sword of false accusations in a heartbeat. A president who challenges such behavior in the opposing party is really nothing new. A president who will do the same in his own party…well, that would be interesting.