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Obama on His 'Bromance' With John McCain: 'How a Classic Romantic Comedy Goes

"Initially you’re not getting along, and then you keep on bumping into each other."

Host Jay Leno points to a mug for US President Barck Obama during a taping of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at NBC Studios on August 6, 2013 in Burbank, California. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

On NBC’s “Tonight Show,” Jay Leno asked President Barack Obama, “Is it me, or do I see kind of bromance with you and John McCain?”

Jay Leno points to a mug for President Barck Obama during a taping of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" at NBC Studios in Burbank, Calif. on August 6, 2013 (Getty Images)

Speaking about his vanquished 2008 rival, the president said, “That’s how a classic romantic comedy goes, right? You know -- initially you’re not getting along, and then you keep on bumping into each other.” The line caught some laughs from the audience.

Leno followed, “What changed? Who saw the light?”

Obama responded that he and McCain, an Arizona Republican senator, still have many philosophical differences, but he believed McCain had integrity.

“He is willing to say things regardless of the politics,” Obama said. “The fact that he worked hard with a group of Democratic and Republican senators on immigration reform, they passed a bill in the Senate that will make sure that folks who are here illegally have to pay back-taxes and pay a penalty and get to the back of the line, but over time have a pathway to citizenship, and make sure that we’re strengthening our borders. He went ahead and passed that even though there are some questions in his own party. So I think that he deserves credit for being somebody who is willing to go against the grain of his own party sometimes. It’s probably not good for me to compliment him on television.”

The Associated Press reported last month that the former rivals have worked closely on issues including immigration reform and getting a budget through Congress in the fall. McCain “is a regulator visitor to the West Wing and in near-daily contact with senior White House officials,” the AP reported.

“I've told the people of Arizona, I will work with any president if there are ways I can better serve Arizona and the country,” McCain told the AP. “That seems to be an old-fashioned notion but it's the case.”

Leno also asked about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, another defeated 2008 Obama opponent in a much closer contest for the Democratic presidential nomination. Obama and Clinton recently had lunch at the White House.

“You know, when folks leave the White House -- two weeks later, they look great,” Obama said of Clinton. “But it was a wonderful conversation. By the end of my first term, we had become genuinely close and I could not have more respect for her. She was a great Secretary of State, and I'm very, very proud of the work she did.”

Leno asked if the likely 2016 contender was measuring the drapes.

Obama responded, “Keep in mind she's been there. She doesn't have to measure them.”

(H/T: Huffington Post)

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