The lights were dim in the quaint, DC restaurant. Silk ties strung tightly around each of their necks, a crispness in the evening air — as if a major storm had been avoided. This seemingly last-minute arrangement had been planned over the past week, originally suggested during a recent phone call.
What’d they have to lose?
They’d come from both sides before, but this time offered a glimpse of hope that their future together was actually a possibility. Security was tight in order to avoid the prying eyes and ears of anyone in the pool, which was only steps away. Most importantly, if the situation got really heated and voices were raised in a moment of passion, it was clear this was an off-the-record event.
About two miles away, just as first hands were touching and initial glances were being thrown at the restaurant, a young senator was on the floor, still going strong for almost seven hours. Over the next few, it became clear that he had the stamina to go all night long.
President Obama dined at The Jefferson Hotel on Wednesday with a group of GOP Senators. The dinner, which was imagined during a meeting between Obama and Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham last week, was organized by Sen. Graham (R-SC) and included 11 additional Republican Senators: Bob Corker (TN), Kelly Ayotte (NH), McCain (AZ), Dan Coats (IN), Tom Coburn (OK), Richard Burr (NC), Mike Johanns (NE), Pat Toomey (PA), Ron Johnson (WI), John Hoeven (ND) and Saxby Chambliss (GA).
Senator Graham was the first to exit the restaurant meeting and responded to only one shouted question from across the street. How did it go? “Great,” he shouted back. It was a bi-partisan dinner date gone great.
Across town, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) led a nearly 13-hour filibuster of the president’s nomination of John Brennan for CIA Director. On the Senate chamber floor, with the help of Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), amongst others, they spoke about drone strikes, the Constitution, Patton, Jay-Z, The Godfather, and even Wiz Khalifa. No matter your politics, talking (and not peeing) for 13 hours is an accomplishment.
Lee Brenner @LeeBrenner is HyperVocal’s White House reporter.