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President Obama’s newest ally: John McCain
Politico ^ | 05/20/2013 | By MANU RAJU

Posted on 05/20/2013 8:43:15 AM PDT by Responsibility2nd

President Barack Obama has an important new ally as emboldened Republicans work to derail his agenda: John McCain.

The shift is striking: The 2008 rivals never got along throughout Obama’s first term in office. McCain has been Obama’s chief tormentor on issues ranging from the budget to Benghazi, tartly saying in late 2010 that the two men had “no relationship.”

Yet during one of Obama’s toughest times as president, there was McCain, sitting down last week with him in the Oval Office for a private strategy session. At the urging of new White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, who has sought better ties with Republicans, Obama has had more substantive discussions with McCain in the past five months than he did in his first four years in office, according to associates of both men. Suddenly, the two are working together on issues ranging from immigration to the deficit.

“I’m getting nervous,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), McCain’s closest friend in the Senate. “I told Denis McDonough, ‘I don’t know what you’ve done: You’ve hijacked him.’”

There are many reasons for the sudden détente, including the fact that both men share common ground on several big issues that could wind up defining their legacies. But it’s unclear whether the Obama-McCain alliance can disrupt the gridlock in Washington given both men are viewed skeptically by many conservatives.

Still, the Arizona Republican can fill a leadership vacuum left by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), whose relationship has soured with the president, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is preparing for a potential primary challenge next year.

“Ever since the election, we’ve had conversations and phone calls,” McCain told POLITICO in an interview. “And I think we share many agenda items that we can work on together, ranging from immigration reform, the prison in Guantánamo, to working perhaps on a grand bargain, security of our embassies and consulates. There are a bunch of issues that we share.”

Asked when he was next expected to meet with the president, McCain said: “I’d like to be over there every day to give him guidance.”

Last month, McCain was one of just four Republicans to vote for the failed bill to expand gun background checks, a centerpiece of Obama’s agenda. McCain is a chief architect of the Senate immigration bill supported strongly by the White House. He’s expressed deep reservations about GOP threats to filibuster Obama’s Cabinet-level nominees. He’s slammed his fellow Republican senators for blocking Senate Democratic efforts to begin bicameral budget negotiations with the House. And he’s even suggested new tax revenues could be part of a grand bargain.

Behind the scenes, McCain now is leading an effort with about a dozen GOP senators to explore any way forward on a grand bargain deficit deal as they try to assemble an outline to trade with the White House, though chances of a deal still remain slim.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said “Americans in both parties” expect the kind of “bipartisan cooperation” shown by the two men.

“The president and Sen. McCain don’t agree on everything, but they have been working hard to find common ground and build bipartisan support for progress on immigration reform and further reducing the deficit,” Earnest said.

The emerging relationship between 51-year-old Obama and 76-year-old McCain is one that has certainly changed since the bitterly fought 2008 campaign and the president’s first term — when both men distrusted the other’s political motivations.

The combustible McCain, who has a reputation of seeking political revenge against his enemies, was viewed by Obama allies as still embittered by the 2008 loss and not serious about working with the White House. McCain viewed the president as aloof and mainly concerned about one thing: getting reelected.

Whether the McCain-Obama détente proves short-lived or long-lasting enough to help advance the president’s agenda remains to be seen. And McCain has certainly not dropped all his criticism of the president.

McCain has been a chief prosecutor in the quest to uncover more details about the Benghazi attacks, and he was a ferocious critic of Susan Rice as a potential head of the State Department. He has criticized Obama’s stances on the war in Syria and played a major role mounting the opposition to Chuck Hagel’s nomination to run the Pentagon.

Moreover, McCain’s endorsement of an issue is hardly a guarantee that other Republicans will follow — the senator is still viewed skeptically by many conservatives, particularly in the House.

“We have a major amnesty bill that’s come before us, and it must be killed if we want to have an America that we’ve long dreamed of,” Iowa Rep. Steve King said when asked about McCain’s support of the immigration measure.

There are a host of reasons for budding the McCain-Obama détente.

After weathering his own reelection campaign in 2010, where he shifted rightward against a primary foe, McCain doesn’t have to worry about running again until 2016, the president’s final year in office. McCain is always eager to be at the center of legislative deal making, and some believe that McCain, who can be described as spiteful, is no longer angry about his 2008 loss, particularly after witnessing Mitt Romney’s failed bid to defeat Obama.

Others think that McCain is driven by his latest grudge: a desire to beat his new Senate adversaries, the conservative firebrands Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky, all of whom are determined to thwart the Obama agenda and share views — particularly on war policy — that run counter to McCain’s.

“Fine,” was Lee’s response when asked about his relationship with McCain these days. “We don’t agree on everything.”

Or McCain may finally see a landscape ripe to push through major issues like immigration that he has long clamored for, helping to cement his legacy as one of the most important senators of his time.

“I think John would probably tell you, it’s our opinion, and I think the president shares it — if you miss the opportunity this year, there won’t be another one,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who has been meeting with McCain as part of the GOP budget group.

There has been a dramatic increase since last fall’s elections in outreach from the White House to McCain. Immediately after the 2008 election, there was some hope that McCain — who touted his “maverick” ways in his presidential run — would buck his party and be a key ally for Obama. The president-elect called his vanquished opponent to Chicago, where the two men had a collegial meeting. Days before his 2009 Inauguration, Obama hosted a black-tie dinner in honor of McCain, saying a new season of cooperation would be ushered into the Capitol.

That didn’t last very long.

In a February 2010 health care summit hosted by Obama, McCain attacked the president for cutting an “unsavory” deal behind closed doors despite making “eight” campaign promises to open the talks to the public.

“We’re not campaigning anymore; the election is over,” an annoyed Obama scolded McCain.

The two men barely spoke in the run-up to the 2012 elections, with one exception immediately after the January 2011 shootings in Tucson, Ariz., when McCain praised the president’s handling of the episode. Following that, Obama invited McCain for a face-to-face Oval Office meeting.

But that was about the sum of their interactions — until last November’s elections. Since then, Obama met privately for an hour in February with McCain, along with Graham and Vice President Joe Biden. In March, the president joined McCain and 11 other GOP senators at a private dinner with Obama at The Jefferson Hotel.

Obama has called up McCain, including in February to reassure the senator that he truly wanted an immigration deal after a leaked White House plan infuriated Senate Republicans. On top of that, McDonough — who became Obama’s chief of staff in January — has placed a premium on outreach to certain Senate Republicans who could be key to deal making in the second term, and he’s repeatedly spoken to the Arizona Republican.

Once the Senate finishes debate on immigration this summer, attention will turn to the budget — and McCain could also play an important role there, especially given the hawkish Republican’s outrage over the military cuts caused by sequestration.

An offshoot of the Senate group that dined with Obama in March has been meeting weekly to discuss budget issues in the hopes of broadly outlining the ideas that they agree should be part of a budget package.

But after meeting last week in a Senate hearing room, it was clear to participants that there was still ample work to do before even proposing a deal to Obama. They are still debating and defining what they believe the problem areas are in the federal budget, with one GOP senator calling it merely “happy talk.”

“Oh yeah, sure,” McCain said when asked if higher revenues would need to be part of a grand bargain. “But we’re not at that stage.”

Indeed, one of the GOP participants in the group, Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota, said: “I believe that we have to have revenue from growth, not higher taxes.”

But to get to a deal, it will require major involvement by Obama, a task made easier with better relations with Republicans, like McCain.

When asked if McCain — who was held captive during the Vietnam War — was still mad at Obama over the 2008 campaign, Graham said: “He forgave the Vietnamese; I’m sure that wasn’t an easy thing to do.”


TOPICS: Government; Politics/Elections; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: aliens; amnesty; johnmccain; obama; rinos4amnesty
"Newest" ally?

Hardly. These two have had the same agenda for years.

1 posted on 05/20/2013 8:43:15 AM PDT by Responsibility2nd
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To: Responsibility2nd

LOL ... saw where mclame is selling one of his homes. Must need cash to run away for the family. Trains coming.


2 posted on 05/20/2013 8:45:13 AM PDT by no-to-illegals (Scrutinize our government and Secure the Blessing of Freedom and Justice)
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To: Responsibility2nd

And to think I once drove over 60 miles, one way, to vote for this SOB.


3 posted on 05/20/2013 8:47:15 AM PDT by Errant
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To: Responsibility2nd

McCain helped suppress the Tea Party.


4 posted on 05/20/2013 8:48:25 AM PDT by Lexington Green (First, they came for the Tea Party...)
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To: Responsibility2nd

McCain’s 2008 “campaign” was largely spent reassuring us how we really could vote for his opponent and how that his opponent was really very nice and even able to do the job. And McCain never challenged any of O’s policies, O’s lack of experience, O’s communist and islamic associates, or even O’s citizenship or immigration status.

McCain helped elect O in 2008.

He may be a political ally of O, but he is definitely not a “new” political ally of O.


5 posted on 05/20/2013 8:48:40 AM PDT by faithhopecharity (()
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To: Responsibility2nd




"Free Republic stands for God and Country.

We defend Life, Family, Constitution, Liberty, always have and always will.

And we defend our God-given, constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms TO THE HILT!!"

~Jim

6 posted on 05/20/2013 8:50:11 AM PDT by onyx (Please Support Free Republic - Donate Monthly! If you want on Sarah Palin's Ping List, Let Me know!)
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To: Responsibility2nd

McCain has always been a useful idiot to the Democrats. This just cements it.


7 posted on 05/20/2013 8:50:52 AM PDT by sheana
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To: Responsibility2nd

I hated voting for McCain in 2008.

I remember thinking how much better the ticket would have been with Sarah and no McCain.

Hopefully, enough people have had their eyes opened to the Marxist, and
hopefully, we have enough honest men left in government to form an opposition, and
hopefully, enough of ‘We the people’ will start voting conscience over self interest.

Return to Christ, America! It is time!


8 posted on 05/20/2013 8:51:29 AM PDT by LucianOfSamasota (Tanstaafl - its not just for breakfast anymore...)
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To: Responsibility2nd

McCain is so senile he craves any attention can get from Obama insults included.


9 posted on 05/20/2013 8:52:10 AM PDT by dennisw (too much of a good thing is a bad thing - Joe Pine)
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To: Responsibility2nd
McCain has been the democrats and Obama’s ally for a very long time. I recall John McCain saying that we should not be afraid of Obama. McCain has become the poster face for enemy within his own party.
10 posted on 05/20/2013 8:59:35 AM PDT by Christie at the beach
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To: Responsibility2nd
"The emerging relationship between 51-year-old Obama and 76-year-old McCain is one that has certainly changed since the bitterly fought 2008 campaign"

Odd. I must have missed that 'bitterly fought' campaign. All I saw was Juan folding like a house of cards.

11 posted on 05/20/2013 9:02:34 AM PDT by Colonel_Flagg (Blather. Reince. Repeat.)
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To: Responsibility2nd

McCain is here in Massachusetts today trying to get another minion elected. If the conservative had won, McCain wouldn’t be here.


12 posted on 05/20/2013 9:03:06 AM PDT by cotton1706
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To: Responsibility2nd
helping to cement his legacy as one of the most important impotent senators of his time.

Just off by a couple of letters.

13 posted on 05/20/2013 9:04:34 AM PDT by Colonel_Flagg (Blather. Reince. Repeat.)
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To: Responsibility2nd
Statement: "President Obama’s newest ally: John McCain "

Response: Nonsense! McCain shilled for "The Divine One" in 2008.

14 posted on 05/20/2013 9:06:19 AM PDT by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: AEMILIUS PAULUS

McCain needs to go soak his head.


15 posted on 05/20/2013 9:07:56 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (NRA Life Member)
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To: LucianOfSamasota

I refused to cast a vote for him.

If he’s this bad as a Senator...

I mean seriously, he backs most of what Obama puts forth.

Nine times out of ten, he short-circuits our efforts to stand up to Obama.


16 posted on 05/20/2013 9:16:26 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Funny thing happened on the way to the Constitution burning, Lefties rights were violated...)
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To: Responsibility2nd

McCain went to Viet Nam as a patriot (or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof) and came back as a communist. Between his work on the R side of the aisle and Kerry’s work on the D side, the two “sides” are just the two faces of the same coin. One is a little more radical than the other, but the goals are the same.


17 posted on 05/20/2013 9:19:18 AM PDT by nanetteclaret (Unreconstructed Catholic Texan)
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To: Responsibility2nd

McCain is like the Steve Martin version of the Pink Panther’s good-cop-bad-cop routine. McCain should be honored as a war veteran and deserves thanks for elevating Palin’s influence by picking her for his VP, but beyond that he rarely is much help to conservatism.


18 posted on 05/20/2013 9:20:56 AM PDT by unlearner (You will never come to know that which you do not know until you first know that you do not know it.)
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To: Responsibility2nd

I’ve said since ‘08 that McLame was pimping for him.


19 posted on 05/20/2013 9:28:14 AM PDT by bgill (The problem is...no one is watching the Watch List!)
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To: Responsibility2nd

Once a traitor always a traitor and mccain is a traitor and was NEVER a war hero... the Swifties outed that bastid long ago.

LLS


20 posted on 05/20/2013 9:30:19 AM PDT by LibLieSlayer (FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS!)
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To: Responsibility2nd

John McCain is driven by hate. That’s why he is constantly changing directions, as his hates shift.

He picked Palin, and then grew to hate her—shortly after.


21 posted on 05/20/2013 9:43:30 AM PDT by Arthur McGowan (If you're FOR sticking scissors in a female's neck and sucking out her brains, you are PRO-WOMAN!)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
McCain needs to go soak his head.

. . . for eight hours in about 200 feet of water. . . .

22 posted on 05/20/2013 9:50:04 AM PDT by RatRipper (Self-centeredness, greed, envy, deceit and lawless corruption has killed this once great nation.)
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To: unlearner
McCain should be honored as a war veteran and deserves thanks for elevating Palin’s influence by picking her for his VP, but beyond that he rarely is much help to conservatism.

I don't know. If Palin had not been picked, she probably would have served a couple of terms as governor of Alaska, or maybe have run against Murkowski and won a Senate seat.

Who knows? Maybe McCain picked her as a sneaky, backhanded way to get her out of Alaska Republican politics so it could slime its way back to the Murkowski GOP-e pig trough.

23 posted on 05/20/2013 9:53:24 AM PDT by COBOL2Java (Fighting Obama without Boehner & McConnell is like going deer hunting without your accordion)
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To: LucianOfSamasota

Try to think of it as either voting against kenya boy or voting for Sarah.


24 posted on 05/20/2013 10:27:24 AM PDT by longfellow (Bill Maher, the 21st hijacker.)
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To: Responsibility2nd

NEW ally?

He took a dive for Obama in 2008.

McCain coulda had class. He coulda been a contender. He coulda been somebody, instead of a RINO, which is what he is, let’s face it.


25 posted on 05/20/2013 10:30:34 AM PDT by PATRIOT1876 (The only crimes that are 100% preventable are crimes committed by illegal aliens)
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To: Responsibility2nd
John McLame is the modern day version of Wendell Wilkie. For those that don't know, Wendell Wilkie was a life long activist Democrat that never held a single elected office and conveniently became the Republican nominee for President in the 1940 race. Convenient for FDR and his communist pals. After he lost Wilkie went around the country promoting FDR's policies and wrote the books One World, extolling the virtues of a one world government, and An American Program, which should have been more acurately titled, A Soviet Program
26 posted on 05/20/2013 10:34:52 AM PDT by Count of Monte Fisto
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To: Responsibility2nd

Nothing new here.


27 posted on 05/20/2013 10:36:32 AM PDT by bmwcyle (People who do not study history are destine to believe really ignorant statements.)
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To: Responsibility2nd
Newest? No ... he's been a drooling fan since 2008.


28 posted on 05/20/2013 10:46:41 AM PDT by al_c (http://www.blowoutcongress.com)
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To: Colonel_Flagg
All I saw was Juan folding like a house of cards.

You have nothing to fear from this man, Bronco Bama........

29 posted on 05/20/2013 10:48:31 AM PDT by itsahoot (It is not so much that history repeats, but that human nature does not change.)
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To: Responsibility2nd

John McCain is the biggest piece of sh(t to ever pretend to be a conservative. This North-Vietnam-Collaborating, Republican-Pretender, Obama-Endorsing jackwagon can burn for all I care.


30 posted on 05/20/2013 10:54:22 AM PDT by Lazamataz ("AP" clearly stands for American Pravda. Our news media has become completely and proudly Soviet.)
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To: Responsibility2nd

“Barack Obama is a good and decent man, my friends...”- John McCain


31 posted on 05/20/2013 10:59:16 AM PDT by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: Responsibility2nd
Hardly. These two have had the same agenda for years.

BTTT

32 posted on 05/20/2013 2:21:38 PM PDT by hattend (Firearms and ammunition...the only growing industries under the Obama regime.)
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To: Responsibility2nd; All
Link in the article

(Also on POLITICO: Dems hope scandals in rear-view mirror by '14)

33 posted on 05/20/2013 5:22:09 PM PDT by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Responsibility2nd

Juan McNuts?

He’s never been on our side in living memory.


34 posted on 05/23/2013 4:51:11 PM PDT by Uncle Miltie ("The White House can't be trusted." - Ron Fournier, National Journal)
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To: Responsibility2nd

Juan McNuts?

He’s never been on our side in living memory.


35 posted on 05/23/2013 4:51:49 PM PDT by Uncle Miltie ("The White House can't be trusted." - Ron Fournier, National Journal)
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To: Responsibility2nd
Who endorsed this guy, anyway?

Oh, yeah.....

36 posted on 05/23/2013 4:54:22 PM PDT by clintonh8r ("Europe was created by history. America was created by a philosophy." Baroness Thatcher)
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To: Responsibility2nd

LOL. Wasn’t McCain Obama’s ally in 2008 elections too?


37 posted on 05/23/2013 4:54:43 PM PDT by cunning_fish
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