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

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTop Louisiana health official rips Cassidy over ObamaCare repeal bill Senate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions 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 McCainSenate's defense authorization would set cyber doctrine Senate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions 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 CorkerOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Corker pressed as reelection challenges mount MORE (Tenn.), Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteStale, misguided, divisive: minimum wage can't win elections Trump voter fraud commission sets first meeting outside DC RNC chair warns: Republicans who refused to back Trump offer 'cautionary tale' MORE (N.H.), McCain, Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsOvernight Cybersecurity: DHS bans agencies from using Kaspersky software | Panel calls Equifax CEO to testify | Facebook pulling ads from fake news Mueller investigation focusing on social media's role in 2016 election: report Intelligence director criticizes former officials for speaking out against Trump MORE (Ind.), Tom CoburnTom Coburn-trillion debt puts US fiscal house on very shaky ground Al Franken: 'I make fun of the people who deserved it' The more complex the tax code, the more the wealthy benefit MORE (Okla.), Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrLawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program Facebook under fire over Russian ads in election 5 senators call for US to shutter embassy in Havana MORE (N.C.), Mike JohannsMike JohannsLobbying World To buy a Swiss company, ChemChina must pass through Washington Republican senator vows to block nominees over ObamaCare co-ops MORE (Neb.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Sen. Cassidy plans to bring down Medicaid Senate committee schedules hearing on health care block grants MORE (Wis.) and John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenAir Force One is Trump’s new boardroom Overnight Finance: Trump strikes debt, spending deal with Dems | Deal shocks GOP | Fed’s No. 2 to resign | Trump keeps tax squeeze on red state Dems | House aims to pass budget next week Trump praises Dem senator during tax speech 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."