Obama allies say that the president might be able to convert a few Republicans if he listens to their concerns, and gives them consideration. But the differences between the two parties aren’t surface-level issues that can be smoothed over by coddling. They are deep and defining principles. If Obama fails to hit the right notes, his overtures may only exacerbate GOP concerns…

The best Obama could hope for is that he’ll gain leverage — and maybe a modicum of trust — with lawmakers skeptical of his intentions.

“I feel like this is the seventh sequel of a movie. When do the characters fall in love and go off into the sunset?” said Jim Kessler, vice president for policy at Third Way, a centrist strategy group. “The romantic tension has worn a little thin.”

White House officials said the meetings have a very basic purpose: Obama wants to personally tell rank-and-file Republicans what he’s put on the table in the past.