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What’s with the new Klobuchar-Obama ‘team,’ and what was their big topic of conversation?


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Is Sen. Amy Klobuchar the president’s new go-to woman in Congress?

Minnesota’s sole senator showed up smiling next to President Barack Obama in pictures on Politico and The New York Times today as he walked into a meeting on Capitol Hill to rally support for his ambitious 2010 budget.

Both the House and Senate Budget Committees have taken up their own versions of the president’s budget, which has faced mass criticism from Republicans and even some resistance from moderate Democrats concerned about increasing the deficit.

It turns out, however, that the real reason for Klobuchar’s proximity today had nothing to do with the budget debate, according to the Minnesota Democrat.

Klobuchar — along with 7th District Rep. Collin Peterson and members of North Dakota’s congressional delegation — had just concluded a meeting with the president over the Red River Valley flooding.

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“It was nothing more interesting than that,” said Klobuchar, who was amused by the mass of reporters and photographers that greeted them on their way from the meeting into the weekly Senate Democratic Caucus lunch where the president was scheduled to discuss the budget.

Although most of the flooding damage has happened in North Dakota, Klobuchar said that she and Peterson wanted to make sure that “even though Minnesota might have smaller damage … we want to make sure that we get handled in the same way [as North Dakota].”

Klobuchar added that she wanted “to make sure he [President Obama] understood that there were high standards for FEMA” in Minnesota, the national agency that would assist with flood damage.

“He said he was committed to helping in any way,” Klobuchar said.

And, on Washington’s topic du jour — the 2010 budget — Klobuchar indicated that the measure was still very much a work in progress.

“I want to see all the details,” Klobuchar said. “We had a good meeting, and we are working through the Senate version.”