For the second time in as many months, President Barack Obama reached across the dinner table and shared a meal with Senate Republicans that both sides called constructive and an important step towards finding common ground.
Twelve Republican senators ventured to the White House on Wednesday at the invitation of the Commander in Chief. Topics included some of the most contentious battles set to go before Congress in the coming weeks — comprehensive immigration legislation, reforming the nation's gun laws, and reducing the deficit, according to a White House official.
"I commend the president for reaching out to us as it is critically important that we communicate directly in order to find common ground," Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.,said in a statement released after the dinner. "It's the only way that we can find solutions that are right for America — not just a win for the president or a win for Republicans. I hope we can continue the conversation from tonight."
The nearly three-hour meal -- which included a green salad, steak and sauteed vegetables -- came about after Obama called Isakson asking to organize the event to build on a previous dinner the president held with Senate Republicans on March 6.
Isakson said he wanted the Republicans in attendance to represent a cross-section of the party by region and interests.
"Productive discussion tonight at dinner with the President and GOP colleagues," Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, tweeted.
Republicans had similar positive reactions after the earlier dinner at the Jefferson Hotel, but the good will has not easily translated to cooperation in Congress.
NBC's Kelly O'Donnell and Stacy Klein contributed to this report.