Obama hits the links with GOP senators

President Obama is playing golf Monday with a pair of Republican senators, the latest effort in his second-term charm offensive to win GOP support on Capitol Hill.

ADVERTISEMENT
The president will be golfing with Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) will round out the foursome.

Prior to Monday, the only members of Congress who have golfed with the president were Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (S.C.), according to CBS White House Correspondent Mark Knoller.

Since being sworn in for his second term, the president has hosted a series of meals and meetings with Republican lawmakers, including two dinners exclusively with GOP senators. 

Obama is looking to shore up support for a bipartisan immigration reform bill that begins markup this week in the Senate Judiciary Committee. He's also looking to find common ground on an overarching budget deal and grappling with deteriorating conditions and reported chemical weapons use in Syria.

All three senators are either on the Senate Foreign Relations or Intelligence Committees.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said the golf outing would be a “test” of the calls for more outreach from the president.

"He's willing to try anything," Carney said. "And whether it's a conversation on the phone or a meeting in the Oval Office or dinner at a hotel or dinner at the residence, he's going to have the same kind of conversations."

Carney said the president specifically was looking to "find a willingness to move forward with a compromise on deficit reduction" as he golfed with the GOP lawmakers.

Republicans have in the past criticized Obama for playing too much golf, and he typically hits the links with White House aides.

But in 2011, as he was trying to forge a budget deal with House Republicans, Obama and Vice President Biden golfed with Boehner and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. 

Obama and Boehner were paired together and won $2 each in a low-stakes bet with the vice president and governor.

That golf game was held under considerably better weather conditions, however. Monday afternoon was rainy with temperatures in the mid-50s at the Maryland golf course.

— This story was last updated at 2:38 p.m.