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Gun Loss Shouldn't Deter Obama Charm Offensive, Republicans Say

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Obamas charm offensive might not have affected votes on gun control legislation, but Republicans say it might contribute to deals on immigration and debt.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who helped kill the gun measure despite personal pleas from former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and her husband, Mark Kelly, is also one of the eight members of the bipartisan immigration overhaul group. He also said the defeat of the gun legislation shouldnt be seen as a failure of the presidents charm offensive. I still hope we can come to an agreement on the budget, he said.

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., a sponsor of the failed bipartisan compromise on expanded background checks for gun purchases, was less sanguine about reaching a deal on the budget, but he said that doesnt mean the White House shouldnt keep reaching out.

One thing for sure is you never find common ground if youre not having a conversation. ... I think were still very far apart. But Im in favor of having conversations, he said.

Still on the Move

Obama spokesman Josh Earnest also told reporters April 18 that the White House doesnt see the gun defeat as affecting other pieces of his agenda, noting immigration as one area where legislation is moving forward.

I dont see any reason why anybody whos taking a look at whats happening in Congress right now should despair about the possibility for bipartisanship, he said. I think what the president is frustrated by, in reaction to the gun vote yesterday, was a willingness to willfully distort the facts that were included in that legislation, and as I mentioned, the outsized influence thats being exercised by some special interests in Washington, D.C., and the unwillingness of some members of the United States Senate to stand up to them.

As for Obamas rebuke April 17 to the senators who blocked the gun bill calling it a shameful day in Washington and one where lawmakers were intimidated by a lying gun lobby, Alexander brushed it off. I think hes entitled to express himself, he said.

There remain big hurdles to any budget deal that meets the presidents requirement that it include new tax revenue from the wealthy something GOP leaders insist they will not accept.

That could mean Obamas hopes for a bold second-term agenda may rest with immigration, the one issue where a big, bipartisan compromise has been proposed with the support of leaders in both parties.

That momentum springs from the electoral drubbing Republicans suffered among Hispanics in last years elections and their interest in avoiding a repeat in 2014.

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