The White House has reached out to former George W. Bush administration officials, conservative business leaders and selected House members, all in search of a way to hone a message that can move House leaders without scaring them off.
In closed-door meetings, they have urged the White House to find a way to reach out to the GOP that doesn’t center on Obama banging the podium telling Speaker John Boehner to bring a bill to the floor. During the Senate debate, Obama mostly stayed out of the limelight, for fear his involvement would end any hope of a bipartisan success. But his staffers were heavily involved behind the scenes.
White House aides recognize the situation with the House is similar, but participants in the meetings say the president’s team simply doesn’t know where to start with an inside game.
On Tuesday, Obama met with the chief executives of eight companies to press his immigration case. The CEOs were circumspect after the meeting about what the president asked of them.