Politics

How Barack Obama Joined Hands with Republicans to Conquer His Party on Trade

President Barack Obama walks out with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., after meeting with House Democrats on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, June 12, 2015. The president made an 11th-hour appeal to dubious Democrats on Friday in a tense run-up to a House showdown on legislation to strengthen his hand in global trade talks. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama walks out with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., after meeting with House Democrats on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, June 12, 2015. The president made an 11th-hour appeal to dubious Democrats on Friday in a tense run-up to a House showdown on legislation to strengthen his hand in global trade talks. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

 

(Politico) – When it was all but over, and the trade legislation that President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans spent many agonizing months brokering was on the brink of law, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi was left to lament that she and her party had been shut out by the president she helped elect.

“When we did deals with [George W.] Bush, he always insisted on having Boehner in the room,” Pelosi told top Democrats Wednesday morning over coffee, donuts and bagels, referring to then-Minority Leader John Boehner, according to attendees. “That’s not happening now.”

Shortly after the meeting as some of her liberal allies still seethed, Pelosi announced she would support a key final element of the White House’s trade package, sealing a major victory for Obama, Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The story of how Pelosi was vanquished by a president of her own party in unlikely tandem with GOP leaders began three days after Republicans swept the November midterm elections. It consisted of lobbying by the president and his Cabinet members, who zeroed in on a few dozen key Democratic senators and House members, wooing them with lunches in Washington, private Oval Office meetings and appearances in their states and districts.

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