sincere

After a week of President Obama extending lunch and dinner invites to congressional Republicans, ahead of the next budget battle, party leaders are expressing cautious optimism about the president being sincere – not just leading a so-called charm offensive.

The invitations appear to be a change in political tactics for Obama, who since elected in 2008 has largely avoided courting Congress, preferring as of late to instead make his case to the public with campaign-style events.

He also plans to keep up the effort this week with three scheduled trips to Capitol Hill to visit Democrats and Republicans in both chambers, a likely effort to broker a “grand bargain” on tax and spending instead of another short-term fix.

“I hope that this is sincere,” Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, who had lunch Thursday with Obama at the White House, told “Fox News Sunday.” “We had a very good, frank exchange. But the proof will be in the coming weeks as to whether or not it’s a real, sincere outreach to find common ground.”