Freshman Rep. Erik Paulsen, four months on the job, got his first chance to meet personally with President Obama Wednesday night at a White House reception for a few dozen House members.
â€œHe was friendly, he was engaging, he was sincere,â€ the Minnesota Republican recounted Thursday. â€œIt was good. Relationship-building is important.â€
True, the Democrats have won over Paulsenâ€™s vote on a few bipartisan measures, such as childrenâ€™s health insurance and credit card regulations.Â But thatâ€™s not why Paulsen thinks he was invited to the White House.
â€œI get the sense that theyâ€™re just working on building relationships. Thatâ€™s what itâ€™s about,â€ he said.
The group, made of Republicans and Democrats, got to mingle with Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
â€œI said, â€˜Mr. President, Erik Paulsen, brand new member from Minnesota.â€™ And he just looked at me directly in the eye and said, â€˜Howâ€™s it going?â€™â€
The encounter was purely social, but Paulsen said he took the occasion to lobby the president on his upcoming proposal to help small businesses by separating business and personal income for tax purposes.
â€œHe said, â€˜Yeah, we should look at that.â€™â€