Obama meets with House Republicans over economic slowdown

“The president tactfully said ‘That's not my priority, my priority is not slowing the recovery down and the long-term economic health of the country,’ " Rogers said.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday offered a 10-year budget for House Republicans that would reduce spending by $5.7 trillion and balance the budget in 10 years. Republicans have criticized the White House for not yet releasing a budget this year.

About the only news that Obama brought to House Republicans, multiple lawmakers said, was the announcement that there was a new pope.

While billions outside the closed-door meeting learned through television about the historic selection, House Republicans learned from the president.

"We have white smoke," Obama told them more than halfway through the meeting, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said.

Lawmakers applauded, and then Rep. Billy Long (R-Miss.) drew laughs when he yelled out, "Does that mean that you're going to open up the White House for tours?"

Obama earned a standing ovation from Republicans when he entered the meeting, the second of four sessions the president is having on Capitol Hill with House and Senate Republicans and Democrats.

House GOP lawmakers have greeted the president with a standing ovation every time they’ve met with a president, Rogers said. “I don't care which president, we respect the office," he said.

For more on Obama's meeting with GOP lawmakers, click here.