Around the South for Dec. 22: OK, SC & TN

Oklahoma: Coburn on Obama: “very smart, nice guy.” In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” US Sen. Tom Coburn (R), who is stepping down at the end of this year, praised his political opposite, President Barack Obama. “You don’t have to be the same to be friends. The interesting friendships are the ones that are divergent.” Coburn added, “I am proud of our country for electing Barack Obama. It says something about us.” ……. South Carolina: Graham continues to ponder White House bid. Last week US Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) told a group of reporters that he has a “unique” ability to deal with national security problems and that he believes in a conservatism that can solve problems. He’s since tangled with liberal US Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) over the spending bill, telling the Senate, “Don’t follow her lead. She’s the problem.” And he stood firm, with his ally US Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), in condemning President Obama’s recognition of Cuba, saying that it was a policy of “retreat and decline” for this nation and its values ……. Tennessee: Corker cautious on Cuba. US Sen. Bob Corker (R), likely to chair the Senate Foreign Relations Committee come January, said in a statement that recognition of Cuba was a “sweeping” change in US policy. He added that “there is no real understanding as to what changes the Cuban government is prepared to make” and that the next Congress “will be closely examining the implications” of the new Cuban policy …….