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White House: GOP outreach not Clinton's idea

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President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama held a previously undisclosed private dinner with former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last Friday, the same night the sequester spending cuts went into effect.

The White House on Friday confirmed reports that had surfaced about the meeting, but denied that Mr. Obama’s new outreach strategy to Republicans was Mr. Clinton’s idea. The former president was known for his personal camaraderie and fondness for dining and rubbing shoulders with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

The president’s spokesman Joshua Earnest confirmed that the dinner occur and said only that “they enjoyed the meal and they enjoyed the conversation.”

“I don’t have any more details to read out to you,” he said.

Mr. Earnest also pointed out that Mr. Obama’s outreach efforts started before his dinner with the Clintons. He had called a bipartisan members of the Senate’s Gang of Eight seeking immigration reform and hosted Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina in the Oval Office on Feb. 28.

“This is an ongoing effort,” the spokesman said. “I haven’t spoken to President Clinton about what he thinks about that effort, but maybe you could try.”

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About the Author

Susan Crabtree

Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at

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