msnbc | March 09, 2013
>> president obama is offering new insight on the sequester stalemate this morning. it looks like it won't be resolved any time soon. in his weekly address, the president sheds light on his meeting with republican leaders this week. with the goal of replacing the across-the-board budget cuts that took effect a week ago.
>> in the months ahead, there will be more contentious debate and honest disagreement between principle people who want what's best for this country. i still believe compromise is possible. i still believe we can come together to do big things . and i know there are leaders on the other side of the aisle who share that belief.
>> the president also highlighted the 236,000 jobs add the in february, bringing unemployment down to 7.7%. despite those good economic numbers, republicans today continue to blast the president over the sequester and getting a budget passed. here's senator jeff sessions of alabama.
>> president obama speaks of his deep concern for struggling americans. yet his plans are focused on growing government, not the economy. he has no effective plan to create better jobs, more hiring or rising wages.
>> and today is the first day the white house will not offer tours to the public, saying the sequester is to blame for that. nbc's kristin welker is at the white house . fortunately they didn't close the corps office. you were able to get there. the president says he's planning to hold more sequester meetings. what are you hearing about that?
>> reporter: good morning to you. president obama has a series of meetings on capitol hill next week. he'll meet with democrats and republicans in both chambers. the idea is to talk about deficit reduction. he'll also talk about some of his other second-term goals, immigration reform , gun control. now, these meetings that are coming up this week come on the heels of a series of meetings. this past week he had lunch with paul ryan , his former rival on the campaign trail. and then he had a big dinner here in washington, d.c. earlier this week with 12 republican senators at the jefferson hotel . the idea was to hone in on deficit reduction. of course, this comes on the heels of this president having been widely criticized for not reaching out enough to members of congress. so this really represents a new strategy on the part of this president and this white house to reach around congressional leaders to circumvent them and go directly to the rank and member files of congress and talk to them. i've been speaking with administration officials here who say this is a good time for the president to have productive conversations on this point of deficit reduction with members of congress. there's no countdown clock . there's no deadline or fiscal deadline looming, so they're hoping this will create an environment in which they can have these productive conversations. that remains to be seen. of course, still deep differences over the issues of taxes and entitlement reform. one interesting thing that came out of that dinner, alex, one of the senators who attended said he prior to the dinner had been unclear about what president obama was actually offering in terms of entitlement reform and cuts. so, there does seem to be some sort of clarifying that's going on in these meeting, but will they actually yield results? that remains to be seen because ultimately the president's going to have to bring congressional leaders back into the fold to turn these conversations into really action.
>> absolutely. well, the president saying earlier, it's going to be a few more months ahead of divided loyalty, certainly. thank you very much, kristin. we'll see you again.