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Sen. Mark Kirk: Obama, Boehner need ‘some quality alone time’

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk meets with Sun-Times editorial board. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk meets with the Sun-Times editorial board. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

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Updated: November 24, 2011 12:24AM

WASHINGTON — Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) urged President Obama to spend “some quality alone time” with House Speaker John Boehner as Congress takes up job creation proposals from Obama and other lawmakers.

A closer relationship between the two could be crucial during upcoming deliberations, Kirk told me when we talked Friday morning.

“Time one on one is critical,” Kirk said, even suggesting Obama invite Boehner to Camp David, the presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains or to another round of golf.

Democrat Obama and Republican Boehner last week tangled over Obama’s request to address a joint session of Congress. In a flap that illustrated how hard it is for opponents to have a working relationship, Boehner turned down Obama’s original Wednesday night request but agreed to Thursday. Obama invited Boehner to play golf with him in June — meaningful because Obama usually prefers to draw his golfing companions from a small circle of regulars.

Obama in his Thursday night speech unveiled a package of long- and short-term plans he argues will create jobs. The White House told me Friday morning the speech will be translated into a bill and sent to Congress next week.

Most likely the new 12-member bipartisan, bicameral “Super Committee” created out of the summer wrangling will deal with the Obama package, a move Kirk said would be productive. That’s because the panel faces a late November deadline to make massive cuts — or raise revenue, or do both — or else face automatic cuts neither Democrats nor Republicans would want, an incentive for the dozen lawmakers to make a deal.

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