The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

April 24, 2013

President Obama, Sen. Coburn share the ‘love’

When President Barack Obama first took office, dozens of Oklahomans complained to Sen. Tom Coburn that he looked “too close” with the commander in chief on TV. That made them uncomfortable.

“How better to influence somebody than to love them?” Coburn responded.

How do we know this? President Obama recently penned an essay on the conservative Republican after he was named to “The 2013 TIME 100” list.

The magazine annually lists the world’s most influential people, and the outspoken Coburn made the cut.

What else did Obama say? Not surprisingly, the two men seem to be pretty different. Through the years, however, the two leaders forged a mutual respect and friendship through faith and family.

We know they often disagree, but where do they see eye to eye? As “Google for Government” act co-sponsors, they agree on more government accountability and transparency.

The president had more nice things to say about Dr. Tom.

“The people of Oklahoma are lucky to have someone like Tom representing them in Washington — someone who speaks his mind, sticks to his principles and is committed to the people he was elected to serve,” Obama wrote in TIME.

In this cynical age of finger-pointing, the essay author might not be the obvious choice. Many partisans will scoff at the relationship between these strange political bedfellows.

“Each of us still hopes the other will see the light,” Obama wrote for TIME. “But in the meantime, we’ll settle for being friends.”

Hard-core politicos shouldn’t be surprised. The duo’s friendship is well documented.

“I’m adamantly against 80 percent of President Obama’s policies,” Coburn told The Oklahoman in 2009. “But he is an honest liberal. He said he was going to nationalize health care, he said he was going to do all these things. And he’s doing it.”

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