In January 2014, Barack Obama said this about Tom Coburn

Early in 2014, when hearing that U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn would leave Congress and return to Oklahoma, President Barack Obama (in a White House email to this reporter and other state journalists) led a chorus of praise for the passionate conservative Republican from Muskogee.

Obama said: “Those of us who have had the privilege of serving with Tom Coburn will be sad to lose him as a colleague here in Washington. Tom and I entered the Senate at the same time, becoming friends after our wives struck up a conversation at an orientation dinner. And even though we haven’t always agreed politically, we’ve found ways to work together – to make government more transparent, cut down on earmarks, and fight to reduce wasteful spending and make our tax system fairer.

“The people of Oklahoma have been well-served by this ‘country doctor from Muskogee’ over the past nine years, and I’m confident that Tom’s strength and optimism will carry him through the battles to come. Michelle and I will always be grateful to Tom and Carolyn for their friendship, and we wish them all the best in all the years ahead.”

Today (March 28, 2020), Coburn died after a long illness.