GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) - President Obama is personally reaching out to republicans after the white house and congress failed to stop automatic budget cuts from taking effect.
The president had lunch with Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan Thursday and spent Wednesday night dining with a dozen republican senators, including Wisconsin republican Senator Ron Johnson.
"It was a genuine, sincere, open discussion of the fiscal problems facing this nation," Sen. Johnson said.
Typically one of Obama's toughest critics Johnson called the meeting a positive first step.
"That the president was willing to engage somebody who seems so distant to his position," explained Charley Jacobs, a political science professor at St. Norbert College. "I think that's the kind of new normal that the president hopes to see evolve."
Jacobs said Obama has been criticized for not engaging in public policy and these face to face meetings across the aisle could show republican lawmakers their voices are being heard.
"Individual members of congress are going to hear from the president himself exactly what he expects to accomplish," said Jacobs. "What cuts he will make, what revenue he wants to generate and because of that, they're not hearing it filtered through other sources. As well, some rank and file republican members may be more willing to join in some compromising agreement when they haven't heard it right from their leaders."
UWGB political science professor David Helpap feels it's about mending fences.
"Putting his ideas out there, learning from republican senators and really seeing what side they're on and if they're willing to give concessions," Helpap said.
Now we have to wait and see how this strategy unfolds.
"I think cautious optimism is probably the best way to summarize the way both sides are looking at this," added Helpap.
Both professors agree, if the president's strategy works, it will likely be used again in the future to encourage bipartisanship.