Conservatives Avoiding Obama’s Charm Offensive

GOP readies its opposition to the president’s pick for EPA administrator.

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President Barack Obama waves to the media as he walks across the South Lawn to the Oval Office of the White House from Marine One, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Washington.

President Obama will resume his "charm offensive" toward Republican adversaries this week despite signs that it's not doing much good so far in bringing congressional conservatives to his side.

One indication of stormy times ahead is that conservative opposition appears to be coalescing against Obama's choice of Gina McCarthy as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

[READ: Energy Industry: Obama's EPA Pick 'Not So Bad']

Some conservatives argue that McCarthy, who is now assistant EPA administrator, is overly zealous about forcing the energy industry to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change. Her nomination is subject to Senate confirmation, and some GOP strategists say she will have a difficult time.

"EPA is a quasi-judicial agency," says a prominent Republican with close ties to GOP members of Congress. "Once they start these regulations, it's almost impossible to stop them."

President Barack Obama waves to the media as he walks across the South Lawn to the Oval Office of the White House from Marine One, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Washington.

Regardless of the hurdles, Obama's outreach will continue with scheduled meetings later this week with Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill. White House advisers say he will also be making phone calls to court legislators on the budget and other issues.

[READ: Obama Charm Offensive May Have Limited Effect]

This comes after a week of presidential outreach in which Obama had dinner with a dozen GOP senators, had lunch with Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, and spoke at the annual Gridiron dinner for the Washington media elite Saturday night.

Republicans, however, were yet to be persuaded that they should move toward Obama on key issues, especially on whether to raises taxes, which the GOP opposes and Obama supports, and how much to cut spending, where the GOP favors more cuts and Obama less. Republican officials say much will depend on whether he brings ideas to the table that conservatives can accept.

"I hope that he's genuine but I don't think we're going to be doing the Harlem Shake any time soon together," Colorado Republican Rep. Cory Gardner told NBC News's Meet the Press.

A former adviser to President Ronald Reagan told me that Obama would improve the prospects for compromise if the president and his allies stopped hammering congressional Republicans for allegedly blocking a deal to end the current sequester of automatic budget cuts.

[BROWSE: Political Cartoons on the Deficit and Budget]

"As long as they continue to take shots, President Obama's outreach won't be credible," he says.

Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com, and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at kwalsh@usnews.com and followed on Facebook and Twitter.