Obama closes cocktail hour at the White House

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Washington, Jan. 21 (ANI): The Obamas hosted at least half a dozen bipartisan soirees early last year, but they haven't held any since late spring.

Billed as a way to break through the poisonous partisanship of the Bush years, the parties appear to have seen a last call, reports Politico.

"There is very little, if anything, like that now," said one senior Republican aide in the Senate leadership.

Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs, said the halting of the casual affairs could be emblematic of where the president currently stands.

"It could be a sign of the whole year. He starts with the hope, tries to nurture it and then hope of getting bipartisanship fades," Zelizer said.

When the cocktail parties began, Obama was courting lawmakers and trying to win votes on the economic stimulus package. Three Republican senators voted with Democrats to push the legislation through the upper chamber. But the legislation did not receive any Republican support in the House.

Ten months later, when it was time to vote on a health care reform package, Democrats moved the legislation through both chambers with one Republican vote in the House. And it was a sign of the times, Zelizer said.

Democrats who attended the gatherings say they haven't had casual face-time with the president in recent months, apart from a quick hello at the recent White House holiday party for lawmakers.

Another factor was Obama's rigorous travel schedule in the second half of the year.

After his August vacation in Martha's Vineyard, the president went to New York for the U.N. General Assembly, Pittsburgh for the G-20 summit, Copenhagen to pitch the Olympics and for the environmental summit. He also traveled through Europe and Asia. (ANI)

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