From the News Sentinel:
Just weeks after breaking bread with President Barack Obama during a rare dinner at a fancy restaurant near the White House, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker scored another rare invitation on Monday: A chance to golf with the commander-in-chief.
The Chattanooga Republican was one of three senators invited to play golf with Obama — an invitation usually extended only to the president’s closest advisers and friends.
The golfing party, which also included U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Mark Udall, D-Colo., arrived at the first green at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland around 1:20 p.m. under overcast skies. Obama, wearing a blue jacket and baseball cap, chipped his a shot beyond the hole and later appeared to miss a putt.
Corker, also casually dressed in a gray sweater and khakis, tossed Obama a ball from about 15 feet. Later, the two stood together and chatted as Chambliss and Udall putted.
At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said the golf outing was in keeping with Obama’s recent efforts to reach out to lawmakers of both parties, but Republican senators in particular, to see if they can find common ground on challenging issues, such as deficit reduction.
“He’s willing to try anything,” Carney said, when asked if Obama believes golf is conducive to discussions on policy.
Corker, who joined a handful of other Republican senators for dinner with Obama back in March, indicated he saw no harm in a little golf-game bonding.
“With the major fiscal issues our country is facing, not to mention foreign relations issues around the world, anytime you can get the president’s ear for a few hours, I think that’s a good thing,” the senator said in a statement released by his office.
Corker was rated one of the best golfers in Congress by Golf Digest as part of its 2011 list of Washington’s Top 150 Golfers. Corker came in 12th on the list, right behind Udall. At the time, both golfers had a handicap of around 2.
During Monday’s outing, Obama, who has the highest handicap of the foursome, paired up with Udall, who has the lowest. Chambliss and Corker, aided by Chambliss’ hole-in-one on the 11th, won the match.
From the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON — So much for overshadowing your rivals, Mr. President.
Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss didn’t seem fazed by a rare congressional invitation to golf with President Barack Obama Monday, sinking a hole-in-one on the par-three 11th hole. The ace shot helped lead Chambliss and GOP teammate Sen. Bob Corker or Tennessee to victory over the Democratic duo of Obama and Colorado Sen. Mark Udall on an outing meant to strengthen ties between the president and Congress.
Chambliss told reporters upon his triumphant return to Capitol Hill that “everyone went crazy” when he made the shot and there were high-fives all around. The president retrieved the Chambliss’ ball from the hole, while Corker took a picture.
“I told him since I made the hole-in-one, he ought to give us everything we want on entitlement reform,” Chambliss said with a smile. That’s Washington speak for legislation to change benefits like Social Security and Medicare.
Obama took the senators to a favorite course at Maryland’s Andrews Air Force Base, where he frequently plays on weekends with aides and friends. He once took along House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and has also included Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., but this was his first outing with any lawmaker in his second term.
The afternoon game added a recreational twist to Obama’s months-long effort to strengthen ties with lawmakers, hoping some quality face time now can lay the groundwork for compromise on pressing issues down the road.
The foursome played under overcast skies that seemed to threaten rain that never came. Their game was cut short on the 15th hole so the senators could get back for a vote to allow states to tax Internet sales. The casually-dressed lawmakers had to rush in and shout their votes from the Senate’s cloakroom since they did not have time to put on ties that are required in the chamber.
Corker said they agreed not to say much about what happened on the course, other than Chambliss’ ace shot. “We talked a little business but mostly enjoyed just being out there,” Corker said.
From the News Sentinel: