President Obama and the heads of several labor unions and prominent liberal groups met at the White House on Tuesday at an event that was more pep rally than negotiating session.
Obama and the participants largely focused on areas on which they agree: in particular, the need to extend low tax rates for the middle class while letting them expire for wealthier households, according to people who attended the 45-minute meeting.
There was much less talk about possible areas of disagreement between Obama and his progressive partners, such as on cuts to entitlement spending.
“The president has been very clear for quite a while now on the tax cuts on the wealthiest 2 percent — that they need to be eliminated,” said Dennis Van Roekel, the head of the National Education Association (NEA). “Of course, there was no disagreement in that room.”