Nugget from Behind the Scenes

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From The Hill

Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) are quietly working together on a good-government bill despite their campaign-trail battle over who is tougher against Washington’s special interests.

McCain’s Senate office contacted Obama’s office Monday night asking to sign on to a bill opening federal government contracts to public scrutiny, according to three knowledgeable sources.

Before the call, Obama had been working on the measure primarily with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), an ardent proponent of eliminating wasteful government spending and an early supporter and longtime Senate ally of McCain’s.

After learning that Obama and Coburn were introducing the bill without his backing, McCain’s staffers immediately contacted Coburn to express concern and a desire to be named as an original co-sponsor of the update. They then called Obama’s office.

Obama staffers were happy to comply with McCain’s request to sign on, an Obama adviser said, because they knew support from the two presumptive nominees could propel the legislation to passage in the final months of a packed legislative schedule.

McCain’s Senate office and campaign did not return calls for comment on the matter. Coburn, however, acknowledged that the request had occurred and blamed himself for not being more aggressive in contacting McCain about becoming an original co-sponsor when the bill was introduced.

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