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Does Obama Have Friends on the Hill?

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He’s the first sitting senator to be elected president since Kennedy, but Barack Obama has lousy Hill ties.

It is ironic that the man who was pushed toward a presidential run after a basketball game in the Senate gym needed a golf game to show him the benefits of building closer personal relationships with congressional leaders. But that is where Obama finds himself today as he tries to build a relationship of trust with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, so that, together, they can craft a historic debt deal.


The Democratic president and the Republican speaker had only the most distant of relationships before they teamed up for 18 holes of golf on June 18. They didn’t emerge from that game best friends forever. But the lingering image of Obama laughing at something Boehner said while they enjoyed a cool drink after the 18th hole did make it easier for the two leaders to trust each other enough to hold at least one subsequent private meeting and to inject good faith into what had been an uneasy détente.

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