Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) hit a hole-in-one Monday on the 11th hole of a course at Andrews Air Force Base, where President Obama had invited him and two other senators for a round of golf. The Associated Press reports that the invitation was apparently part of an effort to improve the president’s relationship with Congress:
The afternoon outing added a recreational twist to Obama’s months-long effort to strengthen ties with lawmakers, hoping some quality face time now can lay the groundwork for compromise on pressing issues down the road.
The White House and Democrats are working to secure support for an immigration overhaul. They’re hoping that a strong bipartisan showing in the Senate will strengthen the bill’s prospects for passing the Republican-controlled House. Obama also is hoping to find common ground with lawmakers that could lead to a broad budget deal. (Read the rest of the article here.)
Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) joined Chambliss and Obama, reports Rachel Weiner:
Obama, who has the highest handicap in the group, teamed up with Udall, who has the lowest. They were beaten by Corker and Chambliss, aided by the Georgia senator’s hole in one on the 11th.
Both Republicans have both expressed some willingness to compromise with Democrats on a deal. But according to the pool report, the discussion centered on golf, not legislation.
For more on Obama’s relationship with legislators, see this conversation between Chris Cillizza and Paul Kane. Phillip Rucker reports that later this week, Obama will take his appeal for compromise to a more public venue than the golf course, with a tour beginning in Austin:
White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters, “he’s willing to try anything.”
Carney addressed the dichotomy between Obama’s efforts to put public pressure on the same lawmakers that he is mingling with on the golf course.
“I get asked a lot about ‘inside game-outside game,’” Carney said on Monday. “You know, he has long engaged in both. He’s having one-on-one conversations, group conversations, meals, golf games, hard-headed negotiations with legislators. And he is going out to the country talking to regular folks out there about the issues that matter to them, and about the need for them to speak up and engage in a process to demand that Congress take action.”
Obama talks to Republican senators at least once a week, Carney said, “looking to get things done.” (Read the rest of the article here .)