David Jackson, USA TODAY
Another day, more Republican outreach for President Obama.
The president lunched Thursday with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the GOP's 2012 vice presidential nominee. The meeting came the day after a high-profile dinner with a dozen Republican senators.
"I appreciate the president's invitation, and I look forward to our conversation," Ryan said before the lunch. "I hope this is the beginning of a serious discussion of the challenges we face."
The White House lunch included the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.
The new Republican outreach intensifies as Obama and some Republicans look for alternatives for the sequester, the $85 billion in automatic budget cuts that took effect March 1.
Obama -- who has also made a string of calls to Republican legislators -- is seeking targeted budget cuts and increased tax revenues by eliminating loopholes that benefit the wealthy; Republicans oppose higher taxes as part of any deal.
That dispute hung over Wednesday night's dinner with Obama and Republican senators at a downtown Washington hotel (and, yes, the White House says the president picked up the check personally).
"The president greatly enjoyed the dinner and had a good exchange of ideas with the senators," said a White House statement.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, gave reporters a thumbs-up after the dinner at The Jefferson hotel.
McCain sat next to the president during the proceedings, participants said.
Another Republican diner, Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, told Fox and Friends on Thursday: "I'm hoping this is a new approach on the part of the president."
The parties didn't strike a deal, but "that isn't going to happen over one dinner," Toomey said. "But I think it was a constructive exchange."
On CBS This Morning, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said, "I don't think there's any expectation that something over the next month or six weeks is going to occur," but the dinner did help "lay the foundation for constructive talks."
Other Republican senators who dined with Obama: Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Dan Coats of Indiana, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, John Hoeven of North Dakota and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.