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Opposites attract

Gazette staff April 23rd, 2013

The Odd Couple’s Felix Unger and Oscar Madison didn’t have anything on President Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn of Muskogee. The Democratic commander-in-chief and the Republican lawmaker have nearly nothing in common politically, but the two have been friends since they were freshmen senators in 2004.

Credit: Brad Gregg

So when Coburn last week made Time magazine’s list of the Top 100 most influential people in the world, Obama honored his conservative chum with a write-up.

“The people of Oklahoma are lucky to have someone like Tom representing them in Washington — someone who speaks his mind, sticks to his principles and is committed to the people he was elected to serve,” wrote the prez.

“Each of us still hopes the other will see the light. But in the meantime, we’ll settle for being friends.”

Being praised by the president can be a dizzying experience — particularly for a senator from Oklahoma, where Obama failed to win a single county in both presidential elections.

Such discombobulation might be why Coburn tumbled into a fountain at an April 17 March of Dimes gala in Washington, D.C.

“That’s just a natural reaction to making the Time 100 list,” Coburn’s spokesman quipped to CQ Roll Call.

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