President Barack Obama, who has been intensifying his lobbying with Congress to lay the groundwork to change U.S. immigration laws and cut the government deficit, invited three senators -- two Republicans and one Democrat -- for a round of golf today.
Obama played with Republican Senators Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Bob Corker of Tennessee, as well as Colorado Democrat Mark Udall at the course on Andrews Air Force Base just outside of Washington. The excursion, highlighted by a hole-in-one by Chambliss, involved more than recreation, according to one participant.
“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,” Corker said in an e-mail.
The Senate, after a week-long break, returns to work with its Judiciary Committee scheduled on May 9 to take up a proposal from a bipartisan group of senators to revise immigration laws, a priority for the president.
Corker and Chambliss were among the Republican senators who had a private dinner with Obama in March. He had a second dinner with Republican lawmakers last month as part of an attempt to go around the party’s congressional leadership to win some support for the administration’s agenda.
Chambliss said that while the foursome talked about Syria, cybersecurity and the budget, the discussion wasn’t heavy with policy.
Obama, who has the highest handicap among the four, was paired up with Udall, who has the lowest, according to the White House. Chambliss and Corker, the two Republicans, won the match.
The game ended after the 15th hole so the senators could make it back to the Capitol in time for a vote that would let states collect taxes on sales over the internet.
Chambliss had a particular reason to come away from the session with good feelings following the hole-in-one -- his second ever -- he hit on the 156-yard, par 3 11th hole on the south course.
The president plucked it out of the cup for him.
“I am the luckiest guy in the world to have a hole-in-one,” Chambliss told reporters. “Anybody who says having a hole-in-one is skill is living in another world.”