After making headlines with a nasty split over trade, President Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House of Representatives, made a public show on Friday of making up.
It was only a week ago that Pelosi made a dramatic speech on the House floor and joined most House Democrats in a strategic vote aimed at stalling the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade deal Obama wants to finalise before he leaves office.
But on Friday, Obama planted a kiss on Pelosi’s cheek on stage at the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in her hometown of San Francisco.
Later, they traded plaudits at a cocktail party in a billionaire’s home with a perfect view of the Golden Gate Bridge, where more than 50 guests paid as much as $US33,400 per ticket, raising money for House Democratic races in 2016.
The fundraiser was hosted by Tom Steyer, a billionaire hedge fund trader and environmental activist who spent more than $US70 million on last year’s midterm congressional elections, and has vowed to target Republicans on climate issues in the 2016 race.
With a wink, Obama teased Pelosi for chatting with reporters. “Nancy, you giving a press conference?” Obama said.
She praised him for rescuing the economy after the 2008 crash, and for health insurance reforms – legislation she helped pass in his first term.
He praised her back. “The fact of the matter is that none of those things would have been accomplished had it not been for an extraordinary partner in congress,” Obama said.
But on trade, Obama has had to look for new partners, working closely with Republicans in Congress to advance the deal.
They are trying to find a way to get around roadblocks from Pelosi and the progressive wing of their party, who worry the deal could send U.S. jobs overseas.
“As I think some of you may have noticed, it’s not like I agree with my Democratic caucus on everything,” Obama said at the fundraiser, drawing guffaws from the crowd.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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