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President Obama hits the golf course with TN Senator Corker

4:22 PM, May 6, 2013   |    comments
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by David Jackson, USA TODAY


President Obama practiced some congressional relations on the golf course Monday, hitting the links with a pair of Republican senators.

GOP Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia played with Obama on one of the courses at the Andrews military base near Washington.

Also in the foursome: Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado.

Obama "was looking forward" to the round, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Udall was also looking forward to playing with the president and two Republican colleagues "in the best spirit of bipartisanship," said Udall spokesman Mike Saccone.

The round is the latest in outreach efforts that included a pair of high-profile dinners this year with Republican senators.

Corker and Chambliss are considered key Republicans in Obama's effort to forge a major immigration bill and a new debt reduction agreement.

Carney said the president did plan to discuss "a range of issues" with his Republican playing partners, seeking "common ground."

One subject is the budget, Carney said. Obama wants a "balanced" debt reduction deal that includes both budget cuts and higher taxes on the wealthy through the elimination of various loopholes. Many Republicans oppose tax hikes, saying they would slow down the economy.

Asked if Obama believes that a golf game is conducive to these kinds of political talks, Carney said: "He's willing to try anything."

Coincidentally or not, Corker, Chambliss and Udall are regarded as highly skilled golfers. In a 2011 survey of "Washington's Top 150 Golfers," Golf Digest ranked Udall 11th, Corker 12th, and Chambliss 37th.

Obama finished in a tie for 108th place.

This may be Washington's most political round of golf since June 18, 2011, when Obama played with House Speaker John Boehner as well as Vice President Biden and Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio.

That round came as Obama and Boehner tried to reach a "grand bargain" on the budget and debt reduction, something they were unable to achieve.

Copyright 2013 USATODAY.com

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