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Washington - Obama, McCain Break Ice In Oval Office Meeting

Published on: February 2, 2011 10:12 PM
By: AP
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Washington - Now, more than two years after clashing as campaign rivals, President Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain are putting their relationship on defrost and searching for some common ground.

Obama and McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential contender, met privately for half an hour Wednesday afternoon in the Oval Office, the outcome of outreach between the two after the Arizona shooting spree that seriously wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords last month.

“We talked about a wide variety of issues,” McCain said later. “Obviously we talked about immigration, we talked about Egypt, we talked about fiscal issues.”

Aides to both men said the discussion centered on areas where they have shared goals, an indication of repositioning by both the president and the senator in the aftermath of the 2010 midterm elections.

Obama contacted McCain after the Arizona senator wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post praising Obama’s remarks at a Jan. 12 memorial observance in Tucson for victims of the Jan. 8 attack that left six people dead and 13 injured.

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The meeting hardly signals a new friendship. There were tough words exchanged during the presidential campaign in 2008 and hard feelings lingered well after. During a bipartisan meeting on health care in early 2010, Obama pointedly rebuffed McCain’s complaints that health care legislation was being written “behind closed doors.” Said Obama: “Let me just say this John, because we’re not campaigning anymore. The election’s over.”

On Wednesday, McCain said his relationship with Obama has “always been cordial.”

“We look forward to working on some of the issues we discussed,” he said.

Asked how often they would confer, McCain joked, “Every morning.” He added that more meetings were likely in the future, “but they really depend on the issues.”

The White House, in a recap of the meeting, said that the two discussed ways to reduce the deficit and that the president thanked McCain for his longstanding opposition to earmarks, the special spending provisions for pet projects that Obama has said he will oppose in future legislation.

Last year, McCain ran for re-election as a tough conservative, a reflection of the tea party movement that was sweeping the country. But McCain’s stance seemed like an odd fit for a politician who made his reputation as a maverick who broke with his party on a number of issues.

“While, yes, it seems as though the relationship has thawed a bit, the fact is that these issues on the table are issues of mutual interest,” McCain spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said.

Not all was perfect harmony between the two on Wednesday.

Following the meeting, McCain called for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to transfer power to a caretaker government immediately, saying the conditions in Egypt were deteriorating too quickly. The Obama administration has taken pains to avoid calling on Mubarak to step down immediately, urging instead for a swift transition to a new government.

Later, McCain said he did not tell Obama that he would call for Mubarak’s to relinquish the presidency. “I did not want to connect it to our meeting,” he said. “We did discuss the overall situation, but I didn’t argue for any position. The president makes his decisions. So I didn’t want to act like I was influencing his. But obviously we share the same concern.”


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Read Comments (13)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Feb 02, 2011 at 10:17 PM Mark Levin Says:

What's Johnny Mac going to do to mess up the country now?

2

 Feb 02, 2011 at 11:09 PM Anonymous Says:

Mccain is a "shmegegy", a nobody. It is because of him that the Republicans lost. He is and always was a wishy washy liberal Republican. He is useless to the future of a new Republican party. He should become a democrat.

3

 Feb 03, 2011 at 12:07 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

Mccain is a "shmegegy", a nobody. It is because of him that the Republicans lost. He is and always was a wishy washy liberal Republican. He is useless to the future of a new Republican party. He should become a democrat.

Actually the Republicans lost because of their inability to balance a budget once in eight years, doubling the national debt, reckless unending occupations that cost over a trillion dollars and thousands of lives, and an economy that literally imploded as Curious George with his sparkling 22% approval rating was writing giant checks to his friends on Wall Street.

But hey, if it makes you feel good to believe that the reason a little-known inexperienced junior senator from Illinois crushed the Republican party at the ballot box was because of John McCain, by all means.

3

 Feb 03, 2011 at 12:07 AM charliehall Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

Mccain is a "shmegegy", a nobody. It is because of him that the Republicans lost. He is and always was a wishy washy liberal Republican. He is useless to the future of a new Republican party. He should become a democrat.

On what specific issues today is McCain "liberal"?

4

 Feb 03, 2011 at 04:54 AM Obama2013 Says:

Well at least we see Obama willing to hear both sides, this man really cares.

5

 Feb 03, 2011 at 07:55 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

Actually the Republicans lost because of their inability to balance a budget once in eight years, doubling the national debt, reckless unending occupations that cost over a trillion dollars and thousands of lives, and an economy that literally imploded as Curious George with his sparkling 22% approval rating was writing giant checks to his friends on Wall Street.

But hey, if it makes you feel good to believe that the reason a little-known inexperienced junior senator from Illinois crushed the Republican party at the ballot box was because of John McCain, by all means.

Don't make believe like you don't know the reason Obama won is because he is black

6

 Feb 03, 2011 at 08:13 AM Anonymous Says:

To #2- Your distinguished phraseology regarding Sen. McCain left a lot to be desired. You called him a "nobody". However, it was John McCain, who survived torture and brutal beatings by North Vietnamese prison guards, during six years of harsh captivity from 1967-1973. He rallied the other POWs and kept their morale up; when he and the other POWs were released in 1973, they held their heads high.

7

 Feb 03, 2011 at 11:29 AM PMOinFL Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

Actually the Republicans lost because of their inability to balance a budget once in eight years, doubling the national debt, reckless unending occupations that cost over a trillion dollars and thousands of lives, and an economy that literally imploded as Curious George with his sparkling 22% approval rating was writing giant checks to his friends on Wall Street.

But hey, if it makes you feel good to believe that the reason a little-known inexperienced junior senator from Illinois crushed the Republican party at the ballot box was because of John McCain, by all means.

You are absolutely correct. You should also add to that the expansion of entitlements through the prescription drug program, the effective repeal of the 4th Amendment through the Patriot Act, etc.....

Well, why re-hash the past when some will just re-write it anyway. Heck, Michelle Bachmann thinks the Founding Fathers of this country freed the slaves, so who knows what she'll have her flock of tea partiers believing next week.

8

 Feb 03, 2011 at 11:31 AM PMOinFL Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

Don't make believe like you don't know the reason Obama won is because he is black

If that were true... why didn't Sharpton win? Why is Alan Keyes not in elected office?

Nice try, but one only be awake and conscious to know that is an absolute lie.

9

 Feb 03, 2011 at 01:24 PM Buchwalter Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

Mccain is a "shmegegy", a nobody. It is because of him that the Republicans lost. He is and always was a wishy washy liberal Republican. He is useless to the future of a new Republican party. He should become a democrat.

You are 100% right the next candidate Ms. Palin. It is his running mate who made loss the election with her shrill voice and lack of knowledge.

10

 Feb 03, 2011 at 02:16 PM marcia Says:

McCain is really an Independent, but any liberal Jew backing Odumbo may as well be working with Islamic terrorists! It is only a matter of time before the MB takes over Egypt and the entire region becomes hostile to Israel.

11

 Feb 03, 2011 at 04:57 PM anonymous Says:

The hostility you display is nothing less what I witnessed in Nazi Germany. You are narrow minded selfrightous bigots devoid of spark what a Jew should be

12

 Feb 04, 2011 at 07:51 AM Chaim_Ben-Yehuda Says:

To all those contributors who have expressed anti-Obama comments on this thread: exercise your First Amendment rights as much as you like but - at the same time - remember that there are laws against libel, racism and incitement.

We may all think that our comments here are anonymous. Nevertheless, the government can and could trace the source of every single word published on the internet.

13

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