The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hatchet buried over lunch

Washington, Nov. 9 (AP): President Bush reconciled with Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi after Democrats gave his Republicans a trouncing on Election Day, but not before handing House Republican leaders a long legislative wish-list for the “lame duck” session that they will orchestrate.

After a bitter campaign that sometimes got personal between the President and the woman to be House Speaker, the two had a make-up lunch at the White House.

Appearing publicly in the Oval Office after an hour of private discussions, the pair emphasised finding common ground and ignoring talk of bedeviling specifics, such as their division over the Iraq war. They took no questions.

Neither Bush nor Pelosi, however, completely ignored that they often disagree.

“'When you win, you have a responsibility to do the best you can for the country,” Bush said, with Vice-President Dick Cheney sitting glumly on a couch to his left. “We won’t agree on every issue, but we do agree that we love America.”

“We both extended the hand of friendship and partnership to solve the problems facing our country,” added Pelosi, like the President, eagerly leaning forward in her chair. “We have our differences and we will debate them ... but we will do so in a way that gets results.”

Bush extended the lunch invitation after this week’s election that will put Democrats in charge of the House and the Senate for the final two years of his presidency.

Earlier, after meeting his cabinet and Republican leaders from the House and Senate, the President ticked off a to-do list for the current Congress before January’s changeover in power.

It included: spending bills funding government’s continued operation “with strong fiscal discipline and without diminishing our capacity to fight the war on terror;” legislation retroactively authorising his warrantless domestic surveillance of suspected terrorists; energy legislation; and congressional approval for a landmark civilian nuclear cooperation agreement with India.

Democrats won a 51st seat in the Senate late yesterday compared to the 49 won by the Republicans. In the House, Democrats won 230 seats and led in two races, while Republicans won 196 seats and led in seven races.

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