Obama, McCain: Rivals to partners
WASHINGTON — There was no conciliatory phone call, no heart-to-heart talk to soothe the tensions. No one knows exactly when President Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain went from bitter rivals in the 2008 presidential campaign and foes over health care and national security to bipartisan partners.
Yet in recent months, an alignment on high-profile domestic issues — not to mention an eye on their respective legacies — has transformed Obama and McCain into Washington's most unexpected odd couple. The Arizona senator is a regular visitor to the West Wing and in near-daily contact with senior White House officials.
McCain, in an Associated Press interview, said that he and Obama “trust each other.” White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, among the Obama advisers who speak regularly with McCain, praised the lawmaker as a “refreshing” partner who “welcomes a debate and welcomes action.”
Like any good business arrangement in the nation's capital, the secret to the new Obama-McCain alliance ultimately comes down to this: Both sides believe that working together is mutually beneficial and carries little political risk.
For Obama, the senator has become a rare Republican backer of important elements on the president's second-term agenda, including immigration overhaul, stricter background checks for gun buyers and perhaps a fall budget deal.
In return, McCain has secured increased access to the White House and an opportunity to redeem his reputation as a Capitol Hill “maverick.” That image was tainted when McCain tacked to the right during his failed 2008 presidential run against Obama.
“I've told the people of Arizona, I will work with any president if there are ways I can better serve Arizona and the country,” McCain said. “That seems to be an old-fashioned notion, but it's the case.”
Indeed, the level of attention lavished on a functional working relationship between the Democratic president and the Republican senator underscores how rare such partnerships have been during Obama's tenure.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Homeland Security panned for passing on bio-threat technology
- Supreme Court’s health care law ruling worries 34 states
- Huge, ancient quasar could alter theories on black holes
- Perceived slights have some New Yorkers longing for Pennsylvania
- Monarch butterflies find milkweed supply dwindles
- Most young Republicans back legal marijuana
- Paul edges Walker in CPAC straw poll
- Buffet: Berkshire’s built to last
- Florida fisherman’s high court win spurs call for legal reform
- Gene making human brains bigger found
- Mo. gunman kills 7, self, in rampage