Obama invites Sen. Brown, potential energy swing vote, to shoot hoops

President Barack Obama is hoping to practice a little basketball diplomacy with a crucial swing Republican in the Senate.

Obama has invited Sen. Scott Brown, a centrist Republican from Massachusetts, to shoot some hoops with him at the White House this summer.

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Obama and Democratic leaders see Brown as a potential swing vote on comprehensive energy reform and jobs legislation.

“He said, 'I’d like to have you and your daughter out to play basketball this summer,'” Brown said. “So I’m excited about that.”

Brown said Obama made the invitation at the end of a meeting Wednesday afternoon at which they discussed climate change legislation.

Brown told Obama that there are not enough votes in the Senate to pass a cap-and-trade measure that would impose a fee on carbon emissions.

“He did talk about climate and his concerns about the climate, and I basically told him that I’m not in favor nor could I support a national energy tax or a cap-and-trade proposal,” Brown said.

“But I am very excited about working with him in a bipartisan manner to come up with a comprehensive energy plan to address a whole host of issues: wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, geothermal, conservation, incentivizing businesses, providing grants and loans to our businesses,” said Brown.

Brown said he was very concerned about jobs and job creation and making that a focus of energy reform.

Brown became a darling of conservatives after he shocked the political world by winning a special election in January to win the seat of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).

Some conservatives have since criticized Brown for voting for Democratic legislation, such a jobs-creation bill that created a tax credit for employers who hire new workers.

Obama also has a standing invitation to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a varsity basketball player in college, to shoot hoops at the White House.

“The president has invited me a bunch of times; I’m saving it,” said Wyden.

Obama regularly plays with his aides, including former Duke University basketball player Reggie Love.