Pelosi: In Washington, 'It's All About Courage'

By Susan Jones | March 11, 2013 | 5:23am EDT

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House minority leader. (AP photo)

( - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says it's a good idea for President Obama to meet face-to-face with Republican leaders, as he plans to do again this week.

"I think the meetings are a good idea because you understand each other better and you may get a measure of courage. Around here, it's all about courage -- who's going to really vote what they believe and fight for what they believe? And so, I think everybody takes a measure of each other at some of these meetings."

Pelosi made the comments on CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley.

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Repeating something she said last week, Pelosi insisted that President Obama "has always been very respectful of the views of the Republicans" and "has always tried to accommodate them."

She said the lack of meetings between Obama and Republicans up to this point is not the reason for gridlock in Washington: "We haven't had progress before because the Republicans were committed to blocking the initiatives of President Barack Obama," Pelosi said.

In an about-face last Wednesday, President Obama invited a dozen Republican senators to dine with him at the Jefferson Hotel. And a day later, on Thursday, he had lunch with Paul Ryan, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, and Chris Van Hollen, the committee's top Democrat.

In his weekly radio address, Obama explained that he's reaching out to lawmakers "to see if we can untangle some of the gridlock" and to "see if there wer smarter ways to grow our economy and reduce our deficits than the arbitrary cuts and the so-called 'sequester' that recently went into place.  

According to the president, "We had an open and honest conversation about critical issues like immigration reform and gun violence, and other areas where we can work together to move this country forward.  And next week, I’ll attend both the Democratic and Republican party meetings in the Capitol to continue those discussions."

Obama said although it won't be easy to make progress on issues that divide the parties, "I still believe that compromise is possible.  I still believe we can come together to do big things.  And I know there are leaders on the other side who share that belief."

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