The Buzz

TheChat: Tom Coburn has — wait for it — NICE things to say about President Obama

Thank goodness it’s Friday.

▪ “He genuinely is a very smart, nice guy. I think he’s a neat man.” — retiring Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, a conservative Republican, speaking about President Barack Obama on “60 Minutes” this Sunday.

Turns out that Coburn and Obama are buddies as the two arrived in the Senate together a decade ago. Coburn is featured on this week’s program, and an excerpt of the conversation was made available on Thursday. Said Coburn: “You don’t have to be the same to be friends. The interesting friendships are the ones that are divergent.”

▪ “I’ve got a few complaints about service in and around the neighborhood.” — Obama calling into a Boston radio program Thursday featuring Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. The president was referring to his days living in the area when he was a student at Harvard Law School.

Patrick is in the final days of his two terms as governor, and Obama wanted to call to compliment the governor’s work in his nearly eight years in office.

▪  “Like many families, ours are stretched financially during the holiday season.” — Roxana Gladney, a Kansas City attendant, urging Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to sign off on a collective bargaining agreement to raise the pay of home care attendants from as little as $8 an hour to $10.15.

Gladney noted that the wage increase would be a huge boost for families of attendants, who have fought for years for higher wages. State Rep. Stephen Webber of Columbia said the state has an “ethical duty” to ensure that home-based caregivers receive the wage that’s been negotiated.

▪ “Probably a good idea.” — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on opening up relations with Cuba.

Paul, a conservative Republican and likely presidential candidate, broke with his fellow GOP White House contenders Thursday in taking this position. He echoed the president, saying, “The 50-year embargo just hasn’t worked.”

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