With the Presidential campaign about to go nuclear negative, I thought it might be time to re-link to a post I wrote a couple of months ago regarding the only time that Barack Obama and John McCain have worked together in the Senate.
Obama used the instance as the answer to a question at the recent Saddleback Civic Forum. Rick Warren asked “Can you give me a good example of where you went against party loyalty and maybe even went against your own best interest for the good of America?”
Obama responded: “Well, you know, I’ll give you an example that, in fact, I worked with John McCain on; and that was the issue of campaign ethics reform and finance reform. That wasn’t probably in my interest or his, for that matter, because the truth was that both Democrats and Republicans sort of like the status quo. And I was new to the Senate, and it didn’t necessarily then engender a lot of popularity when I started saying, you know, we’re going to eliminate meals and gifts from corporate lobbyists.”
Although I haven’t seen him address it since Saddleback, I bet that John McCain, the guy who actually has something to put on his resume in regards to bucking party leadership, doesn’t quite remember his time working with Obama so fondly. Here is an excerpt of the letter which he sent to Obama at the time.
Dear Senator Obama:
I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying reform legislation were sincere. When you approached me and insisted that despite your leadership’s preference to use the issue to gain a political advantage in the 2006 elections, you were personally committed to achieving a result that would reflect credit on the entire Senate and offer the country a better example of political leadership, I concluded your professed concern for the institution and the public interest was genuine and admirable. Thank you for disabusing me of such notions with your letter to me dated February 2, 2006, which explained your decision to withdraw from our bipartisan discussions. I’m embarrassed to admit that after all these years in politics I failed to interpret your previous assurances as typical rhetorical gloss routinely used in politics to make self-interested partisan posturing appear more noble. Again, sorry for the confusion, but please be assured I won’t make the same mistake again.
And that I think, sums up why I think this election is going to be just a little bit testy.