President Obama had an animated discussion with the top Senate Democrat en route to the memorial service for the late Sen. Robert Byrd (W.Va.) at the West Virginia State Capitol.
Obama and Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) were seen "chatting animatedly" on the short plane ride to Charleston, W. Va., according to the pool report.
Reid faces a tough reelection race against Republican Sharron Angle. Meanwhile, the White House is awaiting action on major pieces of legislation, including the Wall Street reform conference report that passed the House earlier this week and an energy and climate bill.
But it wasn't clear what the two men were discussing.
As the presidential motorcade pulled into the Legislature grounds, bluegrass music played over the public announcement system. It then switched to "America the Beautiful," and back to fiddling and bluegrass.
Tributes for Byrd, who died early Monday morning, are expected to come from West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Victoria Kennedy, Sen. John Rockefeller (W.Va.), Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Reid, former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden.
The eulogy will be given by Obama.
There will be no special election to fill the remainder of Byrd's ninth term. Manchin is expected to appoint an interim senator after tributes to the long-serving Democrat are completed.