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Will Breaking Bread Break The Deadlock In D.C.?

Wednesday night it was dinner with a small group of Republican lawmakers.

Thursday it's lunch with 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

Next week, the president is due to have lunch with more Republican senators.

As NPR's Scott Horsley reported on Morning Edition and It's All Politics, "President Obama is hoping for a spring thaw in White House-congressional relations." And the White House seems to think that breaking bread will help break the stalemate over taxes, spending and deficit-reduction.

After Wednesday's dinner at a Washington, D.C., hotel "the senators had nothing but nice things to say about the gathering," writes the Los Angeles Times. The group included 2008 GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona — who The Associated Press reports "jokingly said the meeting was 'terrible,' then added that the meal went 'just fine' and flashed a thumbs-up."

Thursday on CBS This Morning, Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker said the get-together was "very constructive."

"The most salient part about the dinner was it was a very sincere and open conversation," Corker added.

The official White House comment about the dinner, from "a senior administration official" to the pool of reporters who followed the lawmakers to the hotel: "The president greatly enjoyed the dinner and had a good exchange of ideas with the senators."

Obviously, the sharp divide between Republican and Democratic lawmakers in recent years means that almost any sign of bipartisanship becomes news. We wonder about these cross-party meals. Will they make a difference?

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