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Feb 22, 9:26 PM EST

President says he's committed to working with governors


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WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama told dozens of the nation's governors Sunday night that they probably wouldn't agree on all issues, but said he expected they'd find more in common than sometimes is assumed.

He welcomed many of the nation's governors to the White House for an annual dinner, including at least one who may be eyeing his office.

"Within this room, we're not going to agree on everything. But I am committed to working with each and every one of you over the next two years to keep making progress," he said. "And we'll talk more about that tomorrow."

Obama delivered the brief remarks and a toast at the dinner, which coincides with the National Governors Association's winter meeting. He planned to sit down with the group on Monday.

Republicans made major gains during the midterm elections and 31 governors' mansions are now in GOP hands.

Among those present was Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a likely Republican presidential contender in 2016.

Walker caused a stir on Saturday when he said he didn't know if the president loves America. He was responding to a question about similar comments earlier in the week by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

The former mayor claimed at event attended by Walker that Obama doesn't love America - a comment that has drawn criticism from Democrats and put some GOP presidential hopefuls on the spot.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, the NGA's chair, also spoke and called the dinner "a wonderful and rare opportunity for us to come together and genuinely share each other's company."

He also praised Obama for visiting his state during several recent tragedies, and specifically commended his compassion. "I can personally say with the deepest respect and appreciation, thank you for the love - thank you for your love for the people of Colorado and of all our states."

Obama made brief reference to the presidential jockeying by several governors at the beginning of his remarks.

"Harry Truman once called the presidency an `enlarged governorship,'" he said to laughs. "Of course, a few of you are hoping that he was right."

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