Graham on Obama invite: 'How do you say no to the president?'

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump digs in amid uproar on zero tolerance policy Senate passes 6B defense bill Justice IG says report doesn’t assess ‘credibility’ of Russian probe MORE (R-S.C.) praised President Obama for reaching out to organize a private dinner with a group of Republicans on Wednesday night. 

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Graham, speaking a few hours before he and a number of other Republican senators were to dine with Obama at D.C.'s Jefferson Hotel, said the president called him and Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump plan to claw back billion in spending in peril McCain calls on Trump to rescind family separation policy: It's 'an affront to the decency of the American people' Senate passes 6B defense bill MORE (R-Ariz.) a few weeks ago asking them to gather some Republican senators for a sit-down meeting. 

"The president called Sen. McCain and myself a couple of weeks ago," Graham said. 

"I'm assuming the president wants to talk seriously about the issues of the day. And if he just wants to have a dinner so we can get to know each other better that's fine with me," he added. "So how do you say no to the president, who would like to have dinner with some of your colleagues? You don't. And anybody who would do that in this business is in the wrong position."

McCain and Graham recently met with Obama at the White House to discuss immigration reform. 

Graham said Obama was doing the "right thing" by reaching out to Republicans.

"So when the president asked that I get together a group, I willingly did, and I was honored to try to do that. Where this goes I don't know," Graham continued. 

"I do believe what the president has been doing lately, getting off the campaign trail, back in to the normal business of doing business up here, talking to each other — I can't think of any major accomplishment in America in the private or public sector where no one ever talked to each other. So I want to compliment the president for reaching out. I think he's doing the right thing. We need to stop the campaign — the election is over."

According to CNN, the senators invited to dinner include Graham (S.C.) and Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSenate chaplain offers prayer 'as children are being separated from their parents' Senate passes 6B defense bill This week: House GOP caught in immigration limbo MORE (Tenn.), Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteErnst, Fischer to square off for leadership post The Hill's Morning Report: Koch Network re-evaluating midterm strategy amid frustrations with GOP Audit finds US Defense Department wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars MORE (N.H.), McCain, Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsGOP senator places hold on Trump counterintelligence nominee Civil liberties groups press Trump administration on NSA call record collection Trump’s ‘Syraqistan’ strategy is a success — and a failure MORE (Ind.), Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnMr. President, let markets help save Medicare Pension insolvency crisis only grows as Congress sits on its hands Paul Ryan should realize that federal earmarks are the currency of cronyism MORE (Okla.), Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrFormer Senate intel aide indicted for perjury makes first court appearance The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Washington's week of 'we'll see' Former Senate Intel aide indicted in DOJ leak case MORE (N.C.), Mike JohannsMichael (Mike) Owen JohannsMeet the Democratic sleeper candidate gunning for Senate in Nebraska Farmers, tax incentives can ease the pain of a smaller farm bill Lobbying World MORE (Neb.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSenate probes FBI's heavy-handed use of redactions to obstruct congressional investigators Hillicon Valley: DHS gets new cyber chief | White House warns lawmakers not to block ZTE deal | White nationalists find home on Google Plus | Comcast outbids Disney for Fox | Anticipation builds for report on FBI Clinton probe Graham jokes about Corker: GOP would have to be organized to be a cult MORE (Wis.) and John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenGOP senators want NAFTA deal from Trump by Labor Day Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA GOP lawmakers want Trump to stop bashing Congress MORE (N.D.).

Graham suggested that he would try and discuss entitlement reform with the president. 

"If we don't fix entitlements, they're going to consume all the money we send to Washington in the future and Medicare and Social Security is going to collapse," Graham said. "And I think the president knows that also. 

"I have publicly said that I am willing to do more revenue if we can bend the entitlement curve, and I'm just speaking for myself. There are other senators that are going to be giving their views to the president tonight — they'll probably try and talk some sense into him and he'll try to talk sense into us. I am encouraged by the president's outreach. I hope it bears fruit. But I know this: if we never talk to each other I know exactly what's going to happen. This country's going to fail."