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MSNBC TV
updated 7/31/2013 2:17:34 PM ET 2013-07-31T18:17:34

President Obama on Wednesday met with House and Senate Democrats, as Republican leaders continued to bash his new jobs plan.

“Jobs, middle class, growth.”

That’s the message President Obama said he brought to Capitol Hill Wednesday, one day after his so-called “grand bargain” fell flat with Republican leaders. After panning the president’s offer to cut corporate taxes in exchange for increased spending on jobs programs, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell then moved on to criticizing Obama’s trip to the Hill.

“It’s almost like there’s a ‘Gone Campaigning’ sign outside the Oval Office,” said the minority leader on the Senate floor Wednesday morning. “And on the rarest of occasions when he does come to the Hill, as he will today, you find out it’s basically just another internal campaign rally with Democrats.”

One of those Democrats, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, called McConnell’s attempt to smear the president’s efforts “totally unfair,” on MSNBC Wednesday.

“The president was very focused before the caucus about jobs, and the economy, and the middle class,” said Van Hollen. “He spelled out his plans, as he has to the American people over the last week and before, and as he’s presented them to the Republicans in the Congress on numerous occasions. He’s reached out to them, he’s tried to meet with them. They have rejected all of his overtures, they’ve rejected all of his ideas.”

Fellow House Democrats said the meeting was productive and covered a wide range of topics, including voting rights, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the national economy, immigration reform, and the upcoming budget battle, reports the Washington Post.

But the meeting wasn’t all business. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi brought the president an early birthday cake to celebrate his turning 52 on August 4th. NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell tweeted a photo of the cake provided by Occasions Caterers before the meeting wrapped up:

Here is the @nancypelosi birthday cake for Pres. Obama. Don’t know if there will be signing. pic.twitter.com/is6TetOYZ6

— Kelly O’Donnell (@KellyO) July 31, 2013

Video: Obama meets with congressional Democrats

  1. Closed captioning of: Obama meets with congressional Democrats

    >> jobs, middle class , growth, president obama 's comments a moment ago and coming out of the first meeting with particulars on the hill. the president arrived there at 10:00 a.m . speaking with the members of the house first. democratic party only. joining me now is democratic congressman chris van hollen of maryland the ranking member of the budget committee . sir, good to have you with us. we hear the president talking about jobs and middle class and growth. i want to play for you what mitchell mcconnell had to say this morning about the president.

    >> like a gone campaigning sign is outside the oval office . a gone campaigning sign outside the oval office . and on the rarest of occasions, when he does come to the hill as he will today, you found out it's basically just another internal campaign rally with democrats.

    >> so, sir, is that fair to say that this is just an internal campaign rally, especially since he is only meeting with democrats? what did the president tell you specifically behind closed doors about jobs, the middle class and growth.

    >> thomas, that is totally unfair. the president was very focused before the caucus about jobs and the economy in the middle class . spelled out his plans as he has to american people the last week and before and as he has presented them to the republicans in the congress on numerous occasions. he has reached out to them. he has tried to meet with them. they have rejected all of his overtures and rejected all of his ideas. instead, they have been threatening to shut down the government if they don't repeal the affordable care act . they have been threatening, of course, to default on our debt unless we enact a very radical budget that would hurt the middle class and provide tax breaks for the wealthy. the president has really challenged the republicans to come up with their own ideas, the ones he has put on the table as you know used to be bipartisan mainstream ideas.

    >> as we see what the president is doing now, obviously he does seem willing to make an on offer but, at the same time, making a point about where we stand currently in relationships in d.c. and ron fournia is writing the following. so get over it, obama, and his liberal allies have a limiting definition of presidential leadership. i call it the white flag syndrome. . it is argued the president has given up. we heard the question yelled out to the president right there when he was transferring from the house to the senate side saying are republicans treating you like a lame duck? the president didn't answer but what is your response to that?

    >> well, the president has been very clear that he will use all of the power he has outside of congress in order to move forward an agenda on jobs and middle class and there are things he can do on the education front. he has been talking about community college issues and job training and things he may be able to do on the housing front. but there are certain things you do need congress for and what he is doing is calling upon all members of congress, republicans and democrats and the american people , to engage in this conversation. so, for example, come the end of september, right now, a lot of republicans are threatening to shut down the government. the president is saying let's try and work together so that we enact a jobs agenda instead of threatening to essentially create uncertainty and dysfunction throughout the economy. so it is true that you've got within the republican party and the congress a very extremist uncompromising bunch but that is why it's important that the country be engaged in this conversation. this isn't about campaigning. this is about having a conversation with the american people so they will also communicate to their members of congress.

    >> as soon as we see them when they get home in august, chris van hollen , thank you.

    >> thank you.

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