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

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamAlabama election has GOP racing against the clock Graham on Moore: 'We are about to give away a seat' key to Trump's agenda Tax plans show Congress putting donors over voters 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's dangerous Guantánamo fixation will fuel fire for terrorists Tech beefs up lobbying amid Russia scrutiny Ad encourages GOP senator to vote 'no' on tax 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 CorkerBannon: McConnell 'picking up his game' because of our 'insurgent movement' State Dept. spokeswoman acknowledges 'morale issue' The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Tenn.), Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteExplaining Democratic victories: It’s gun violence, stupid Trump voter fraud panel member fights back against critics Dems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada MORE (N.H.), McCain, Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsNational counterterrorism chief to retire at the end of year Former intel chief Hayden: Think twice on a Trump job offer Counterintelligence needs reboot for 21st century MORE (Ind.), Tom CoburnTom CoburnFormer GOP senator: Trump has a personality disorder Lobbying World -trillion debt puts US fiscal house on very shaky ground MORE (Okla.), Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrOvernight Energy: Chemical safety regulator's nomination at risk | Watchdog scolds Zinke on travel records | Keystone pipeline spills 210,000 gallons of oil Overnight Regulation: Senators unveil bipartisan gun background check bill | FCC rolls back media regs | Family leave credit added to tax bill | Senate confirms banking watchdog Collins ‘leaning against’ Trump EPA chemical nominee MORE (N.C.), Mike JohannsMike JohannsFarmers, tax incentives can ease the pain of a smaller farm bill Lobbying World To buy a Swiss company, ChemChina must pass through Washington MORE (Neb.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonAlabama election has GOP racing against the clock Tax bills speed up global tax race to the bottom Someone besides the president should have the nuclear codes MORE (Wis.) and John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenOvernight Health Care: Initial Senate tax bill doesn't repeal ObamaCare mandate | 600K sign up for ObamaCare in first four days | Feds crack down on opioid trafficking Overnight Finance: Senate GOP unveils different approach on tax reform | House tax bill heads to floor | House leaders eye vote next week | AT&T denies pressure for CNN sale Adoption tax credit restored after conservative backlash 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."