And Obama wasnt above a little heated rhetoric of his own, taking unambiguous shots at the Bush administration:
Contrary to the prevailing wisdom in Washington these past few years, we cannot simply spend as we please and defer the consequences to the next budget, the next administration, or the next generation, he said.
Past budgets have been an exercise in deception a series of accounting tricks to hide the extent of our spending and the shortfalls in our revenue and hope that the American people wont notice.
Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.), often viewed as a Democratic bridge to Republicans, said time will tell if it can work, noting that cooperation is more likely in some areas than in other areas.
But he said Obama realizes he had no choice but to try. I think he understands that if were going to get legislation that solves the nations problems, its most likely to be bipartisan, Nelson said.
Republicans say that if there is any cause for optimism on bipartisanship, its because there may, in the end, be no other choice.
I think the problems are so big that the nation needs us to work together, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said after the White House meeting.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.