How’s this for golf course performance under pressure: nailing a hole-in-one to beat the leader of the free world.
U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss did just that Monday, notching an ace on the 11th hole at Andrews Air Force Base, in a bipartisan golf game with President Barack Obama.
The foursome, which included U.S. Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Mark Udall, D-Colo., was designed by the golf-loving president to connect with senators known for their love of the game — they were the top three handicaps in the chamber, as ranked by Golf Digest in 2011 — and foster some goodwill with a Congress that has been unkind to his second-term agenda thus far.
In the immediate aftermath, the talk was not about bipartisan cooperation but about the Georgia Republican’s hole-in-one. According to the White House, it helped seal the victory by Chambliss and Corker over Obama and Udall.
“We had a delightful day of golf with folks who enjoy playing the game,” Chambliss said in a statement. “We talked some business, but it was mainly a day for everyone to get away from the office for a little while.”
Obama has had dinner with Republican senators twice this year, once in a group organized by Georgia Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson. He has expressed hope that Senate Republicans could work with him on budget reforms, and Chambliss has been a leader in that respect as a member of the bipartisan Gang of Six working on deficit reduction.
“This is in keeping with his engagement with lawmakers of both parties — in particular Republican senators — to see if he can find some common ground on the challenges that confront us,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said at his briefing. Asked if a golf game was “conducive” to dealmaking, Carney replied: “He’s willing to try anything.”