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Why Obama's friends with Coburn

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
Barack Obama often cites his friendship with Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

Many had to wonder why?

Their politics are practically polar opposites. Coburn was a staunch opponent of Democrats on health care -- and other issues. Remember, he introduced several amendments during the reconciliation process that were difficult to vote against, like banning erectile dysfunction drugs for child molestors.

But if you read this story, you see why Obama and Coburn are friends. It's about temperament, civility and reason.

Capitol News Connection reports on a Coburn town hall:

After a woman in the audience railed against the possibility of being put in prison for not obtaining health insurance under the Democrat's (sic) new law, Coburn dismissed her remark and questioned the accuracy of Fox News reports on health care reform.

"The intention is not to put any one in jail. That makes for good TV news on FOX but that isn't the intention,' Coburn responded. ...

While discussing his policy disagreements with Pelosi Coburn said "she's a nice lady," which brought hisses and hoots from the crowd. But Coburn flatly rejected the crowd's animosity towards the liberal Speaker.

"Come on now. She is nice – how many of you all have met her? She's a nice person," Coburn said as he went on to lecture the crowd about civility.

"Just because somebody disagrees with you dodn't (sic) mean they're not a good person," Coburn said. "I've been in the senate for five years and I've taken a lot of that, because I've been on the small side –- both in the Republican Party and the Democrat Party." ...

"What we have to have is make sure we have a debate in this country so that you can see what's going on and make a determination yourself," Coburn added and then again warned the crowd against the myths perpetrated on FOX News.

"So don't catch yourself being biased by FOX News that somebody is no good. The people in Washington are good. They just don't know what they don't know," Coburn said."

Civility and reason in politics are sorely lacking inside and out of this town. And nothing encapsulated that more than the past year's health-care debate. Americans could stand to follow the example of those on both sides of the aisle who try to comport themselves with some semblance of dignity.