Fox & Friends questioned the authenticity of President Obama's most recent outreach to Republicans while ignoring GOP leaders' numerous rebukes of the president's past attempts to reach across the aisle.
In a widely publicized March 12 article, The National Journal's Ron Fournier questioned the sincerity of Obama's current outreach to Congressional Republicans, including dining with GOP senators and visiting Capitol Hill. Fournier quoted an anonymous senior White House official as describing the president's efforts as a "joke" and a waste of time.
On March 13, Fox & Friends seized on the article to question whether Obama was sincere in his efforts to reach out to Republicans. Co-host Steve Doocy came to the conclusion that Obama isn't actually serious about this latest bipartisan effort:
DOOCY: We've been speculating, what was the motivation for this charm offensive? Well now, thanks to Ron Fournier of National Journal, we know that it is simply a tactic. The president of the United States is not serious about actually reaching across the aisle, but he saw that his poll numbers were imploding thanks to the sequester.
In the same segment, guest co-host Alisyn Camerota emphasized the importance of outreach that the president has supposedly neglected:
CAMEROTA: That's what you're supposed to do! You're supposed to go and meet with your adversaries so that you can work out some sort of bargain.
But Fox made no mention of the fact that this is not the first time that Obama has reached out to -- and been rebuffed by -- Republican leaders:
Republican Leaders Turned Down Obama's Offer To Attend Screening Of Lincoln At The White House. In January, the National Journal reported: "President Obama says he'd like to socialize with Republicans, but they aren't responding to his overtures. So which is it, a remote president or an opposition party that refuses to hang out with him? The White House screening of Lincoln on Nov. 15 offers a bit of a counterpoint to GOP and press complaints about Obama's aloofness." The Journal continued, "The only lawmakers at the screening were Democrats -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Reps. James Clyburn and John Lewis. No Republicans attended, though several were invited, according to a Democrat familiar with the guest list. House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell turned down the invitation, as did Sens. Lamar Alexander, Tom Coburn, and Olympia Snowe." [National Journal, 1/14/13]
Obama's Election Night Phone Calls To Rep. John Boehner And Sen. Mitch McConnell Went Unanswered Because They Were Sleeping. In November 2012, The New York Times reported that following his election night victory speech, "Mr. Obama tried to call both Mr. Boehner and the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, but was told they were asleep." [The New York Times, 11/7/12]
Boehner Refused To Have Picture Taken With Obama. In December 2012, ABC News reported that "Boehner came to the White House last night for President Obama's annual holiday party for members of Congress, but the Speaker didn't pose for a photograph with the president as he has in the past and as other members of Congress did last night." [ABCNews.com, 12/4/12]
"Boehner Has Turned Down An Invitation To Every Formal State Dinner Obama Has Held." In January, ABC News reported that "Boehner has turned down an invitation to every formal state dinner Obama has held -- six in total." [ABCNews.com, 1/14/13]
House Republicans Have Routinely Turned Down White House Invitations. In January 2013, Politico wrote: "House Republicans have routinely turned down White House invites (as Democrats did under Obama's predecessor), with the high point of bipartisan schmoozing being a sparsely attended 2011 BBQ Obama threw for newly-elected Republicans after the 2010 midterms." [Politico, 1/14/13]
Congressional Republicans Were "Too Busy" To Accept Obama's Invitation To A Bipartisan Leadership Meeting. In November 2010, The Wall Street Journal reported: "After congressional Republicans said this week that they were too busy to accept President Barack Obama's invitation to a bipartisan leadership meeting today, the White House without fanfare announced the meeting had been postponed until Nov. 30 to accommodate the GOP's schedule." [The Wall Street Journal, 11/18/10]
Boehner Rebuffed Obama's Request To Address A Joint Session Of Congress. In August 2011, NBC News reported: "After President Obama requested in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to address a joint session of Congress next Wednesday, Sept. 7 -- the same night as an NBC/Politico Republican presidential debate -- Boehner suggested he do it a day later." NBC continued, "A White House official tells First Read, 'Boehner's office was consulted about the 9/7 date before the letter was released. No objection/concern was raised,' ... Boehner's office did not raise objection on the White House call, Boehner's office confirms." [NBCNews.com, 8/31/11]
Bloomberg Businessweek: "Boehner Delivered An Unprecedented Public Rebuff To Obama's Request To Speak." In September 2011, Bloomberg Businessweek reported: "Congress hadn't even returned from its August recess before a new partisan battle erupted, this time over when President Barack Obama can give a speech. Obama agreed last night to delay by a day the long-awaited presentation of his jobs agenda to a joint session of Congress, capping a day of bickering over whether he was trying to eclipse a debate by Republicans seeking the nomination to run against him next year. House Speaker John Boehner delivered an unprecedented public rebuff to Obama's request to speak on Sept. 7 -- the date of the Republican event -- saying there wasn't enough time to prepare for the president." [Bloomberg Businessweek, 9/1/11]
Mitt Romney Was The First Losing Presidential Candidate Not To Attend Inauguration Since 1989. In January 2013, The Huffington Post reported that "an aide told NBC News that Romney was at his beach home in La Jolla, Calif., during Obama's inauguration. While Romney reportedly had 'no big plans,' the aide said it was "doubtful" that Romney would watch the ceremony. Romney was the first losing presidential candidate not to attend the inauguration since Michael Dukakis in 1989." [The Huffington Post, 1/24/13]
Senate Republicans Did Not Attend President Obama's 2009 Briefing On Afghanistan And Pakistan. In March 2009, The New York Times wrote: "President Obama briefed Congressional leaders at the White House on Thursday on his new policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, but Senate Republicans did not show, citing scheduling conflicts. Instead, they met separately with aides to the president." [The New York Times, 3/26/09]