On the eve of Congress reconvening with Syria at the top of its agenda, Sen. Bob Corker was one of a small group of Republican senators to attend a dinner hosted by Vice President Joe Biden.
The meal was highlighted by a previously unannounced guest—President Barack Obama.
Corker and seven of his GOP colleagues dined on Italian food at the Naval Observatory, according to a Politico report. Other lawmakers attending were Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Dan Coats, R-Ind.; Roger Wicker, R-Miss.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Susan Collins, R-Maine; Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.; Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.; and Deb Fischer, R-Neb.
Obama, who plans to address the nation on Syria Tuesday, attended the dinner for an hour and 20 minutes. As lawmakers return Monday, the White House is expected to continue pushing for support from both Congress and the American public, with Obama scheduled to conduct interviews with six television stations explaining his rationale for a strike Monday.
Corker, who is ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has said in past weeks he would support a "surgical" attack on government targets affiliated with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which is accused of using chemical weapons Aug. 21. Last week, the committee approved a joint resolution co-written by Corker that would authorize the White House to use force against Assad for 60 days, with a possible one-time extension of 30 days.
The dinner with Obama was one of several small-scale events with the president attended by Corker this year. In March, the senator and former Chattanooga mayor attended a dinner with Obama at a hotel near the White House, and in May, he was one of three GOP senators to join the president for a game of golf.
Updated @ 11:03 a.m. on 9/9/13 to add more information as it became available.
Updated @ 3:03 p.m. on 9/9/13 to correct a factual error: Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, was not at the dinner, as originally reported in the Politico report.
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