Obama in the Briefing Room

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The president made a surprise visit to the daily press briefing Tuesday, only the third time he has made such an appearance to date. He reported back on today’s talks with congressional leaders from both parties, and took wide-ranging questions from the press.

Obama said he asked Republican leadership this morning to end the practice of putting holds on nominees in the Senate, and that he is considering sidestepping the confirmation process by making appointments during the upcoming recess.

Despite tension over Senate process, he said today’s meeting with GOPers “went well,” and that he is optimistic a jobs package will move forward in the upper chamber.

The president insisted he would not allow the upcoming health reform summit to become “political theater,” again acknowledging that “the public has soured on the process.” He outlined his “core goals” for health care, insisting that he is “willing to meet [Republicans] half way,” but will not abandon his own party’s vision for reform.

“Bipartisanship cannot mean simply that Democrats give up everything that they believe in,” Obama said. “There’s got to be some give and take.”

Addressing Iran, the president said the process of drawing up sanctions is “moving fairly quickly,” but declined to close the door completely on talks.

Update: Robert Gibbs, not to be upstaged by the boss, pokes fun at Sarah Palin.