Have a Coke and a Smile: Obama Boosts Senate Democrats With White House Meeting


Senate Democrats who were feeling nervous about their chances of keeping their majority got a boost from President Obama when he invited them to the White House for drinks and a pep talk.

Unlike previous meetings with Senate Democrats that had been rigid and formal, this time the event was more relaxed and featured more interaction.

The Hill reported:

Unlike the last time the president hosted a reception for Democratic senators, he served them drinks and food as soon as they arrived instead of making his guests first sit through a formal question-and-answer session.

One Democratic senator said someone “must have said something” to Obama about the arrangement last year because this time the drinks and “nibbles” were available from the start.

Also, Obama did away with the rows of chairs and mingled with the lawmakers. He spoke on a microphone while they gathered around him in the East Room.

“This time as soon as we walked in we had drinks, we had food, we had all that first and it was good. And then Obama came in and rather than having us sit we just stood around,” said the source. “It was a much better format than that formal thing before. You get the drinks first, you know?”

“It was very nice, there were a couple of hors d’oeuvres and everybody was able to get a drink whether it was wine or Coke or whatever,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). “It was a good opportunity to listen. I actually think the important thing we need to do much more is more personal interactions rather than speeches


President Obama has often been criticized by congressional Democrats for being sort of cold and distant from them. It was a smart move to change the meeting structure because it not only boosted the morale of Senate Democrats, but it is also good for the president to interact with members of Congress on a more informal level.

The Democratic senators felt good because they got to talk directly to the president, and it was good for the president to hear what the senators had to say in a less filtered environment. As the leader of the Democratic Party, Obama needs sometimes to be the motivator in chief. Getting people fired up isn’t limited to voters. The president also needs the help of Democrats in the House and Senate.

Yesterday’s meeting was a part of what I like to call the have a Coke and smile strategy. The Democratic Party leadership has always come from the top. (This is a leftover habit from the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt.) It seems petty that some of the most powerful people in the world can have the morale boosted by something as simple as finger snacks and drinks, but senators are people too. It seems that even though the sunset is approaching on his time in office, President Obama is still learning different ways to lead.

7 Replies to “Have a Coke and a Smile: Obama Boosts Senate Democrats With White House Meeting”

  1. It’s called camaraderie and it’s a good thing! Everyone likes to feel like they’re part of the group and that the leader of the group hears them.

  2. Watching Obama over the years I think as intelligent as he is, he has had to learn to be a people person. He is very intelligent no doubt and that cold and aloof attitude that people speak of is more a case of a man who is always thinking.

    You can see a difference in him over the years, being more comfortable with people. I think his pep rally will really help. Great leaders do just that, they lead.

    He seems to be in the mindset now where he knows there is no re-election. He wants to help his party, and he is fed up with repubs. His remarks are becoming sharper and more pointed. I say, you tell them Barack. Let loose a little bit.

  3. I have always felt that Obama has a sunny and friendly disposition (and babies and animals love him) however I think he feels like he has an obligation (since he is the first black american president) to be very correct
    and a little bit formal, I think he desperately does not want to do anything to upset his voters and future african americans
    chances of being president.
    I also think he wanted to do a lot for the people of this country in the short time he has (considering the opposition he has had to bear)

  4. Good move! Nothing wrong with a few drinks to get the laughter and back slapping going. Informal get togethers relaxes everybody, letting your hair down is good for moral once in a while. I bet you that there will be some Republican grumblings (Party poopers). Republicans hate to see Democrat’s togetherness (makes them nervous) nor does Republicans like to see Democrats having a good ol’ time (they were not included). Notice how they biiit-ch whenever Obama goes on a little R & R ? They get jealous of his plane ride, the food he eats, the games he plays, the people he sees and the location he goes to. What spiteful bunch. It Must be in their DNA.

  5. Skip Wellington? Were you wearing your cardigan fondling your William f Buckley action figure when you typed that nonsense?

  6. I hope this informal get-together among Democrats helps lead to the kind of morale boosting that in turn leads to confidence on the part of Democrats who are running for office again. 2014 is an extremely important year in terms of mid-term elections, because there’s never been a better time to vote these right-wing extremists out of office. In the nearly 4 years since Tea Partiers were elected, they have done a tremendous amount of damage that’s hurt a lot of Americans. I can’t imagine what else they would have to do in order for people to realize that they are not about “freedom” but are the foot soldiers for wealthy sociopaths like the Koch brothers.

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