WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says a meeting between President Barack Obama and House Republicans was worthwhile even if it didn’t bridge the partisan divide that exists over how to reduce the deficit.

Press Secretary Jay Carney said it’s useful for Republicans and Democrats to sit down and talk in a non-confrontational environment. But also he said that a large meeting like the one between Obama and dozens of House Republicans Wednesday isn’t the right forum for specific advances in negotiations.

House Republicans pressed Obama at the session for more specifics, and more leadership. One leading Republican also asked Obama to stop “mischaracterizing” a GOP Medicare proposal that’s at the center of the spending debate. But Carney made clear that Obama will continue to criticize the Medicare plan.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.