During an interview with “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, prior to his departure from the Senate in January, Sen. Tom Coburn discussed his strange-but-true friendship with President Barack Obama, calling him a “neat man,” while talking highly of the president on a personal level.
“My relationship with Barack Obama is not based on my political philosophy or his,” Coburn told Lesley Stahl. “It’s based on the fact that he’s a genuinely very smart, nice guy.”
“I just love him as a man,” Coburn said. “I think he’s a neat man.”
“You don’t have to be the same to be friends,” Coburn added.
Obama and Coburn’s friendship stems from the pair entering upper chamber in Congress as freshman senators following their 2004 electoral victories.
“I’m proud of our country that we elected Barack Obama…I mean it says something about us nationally,” said Coburn, who is leaving the Senate to battle prostate cancer. “It’s kind of like crowning your checker when you get to the end of the checker board. Here’s another thing that shows America is special.”
The farewell interview also noted that the two had worked together on legislation while colleagues in the Senate, with the Oklahoma senator pointing out their work to lower student loan rates, even though their plentiful differences are evident to nearly everyone.