Obama Builds Even More Bridges to GOP

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2009 7:22 PM CST
In this Oct. 15, 2008 file photo, Barack Obama greets John McCain at the start of the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds/FILE)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama's courting of conservatives is well-known, but he's done even more quiet outreach behind the scenes, Politico reports. Obama has publicly extended an olive branch to the likes of John McCain, Rick Warren, and George Will—but he's also contacted prominent Republicans on Capitol Hill and organizations such as the Southern Baptist Church. “I think he’s done an extremely good job so far,” said GOP Sen. Richard Burr.

Why all the warm and fuzzies? The Senate is naturally inclined to work with one of its own, Burr said. A bipartisan desire to fix the country is also helping, as is Obama's distance from heated partisan battles of the baby boomer era. But Obama's buzzing Blackberry and invitation to Republicans to bring ideas are at the crux of it: “He’s done a pretty good job making it clear that he doesn’t have the knife out,” said a Southern Baptist Convention official.