Political Notebook

Obama, McCain have sit-down

February 3, 2011

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WASHINGTON — Now, more than two years after clashing as campaign rivals, President Obama and Senator John McCain are putting their relationship on defrost and searching for some common ground.

Obama and McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential contender, met privately for half an hour yesterday afternoon in the Oval Office, the outcome of outreach between the two after the Arizona shooting that seriously wounded Representative Gabrielle Giffords last month.

“We talked about a wide variety of issues,’’ McCain said later.

“Obviously, we talked about immigration, we talked about Egypt, we talked about fiscal issues.’’

Aides to both men said the discussion centered on areas where they have shared goals, an indication of repositioning by both the president and the senator in the aftermath of the 2010 midterm elections.

Obama contacted McCain after the Arizona senator wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post praising Obama’s remarks at a Jan. 12 memorial observance in Tucson for victims of the Jan. 8 attack that left six people dead and 13 injured.

— Associated Press

Obama moves a step closer to arms treaty with Russia WASHINGTON — President Obama pushed a key foreign policy goal a step closer to completion yesterday with the signing of documents for a nuclear arms treaty with Russia.

The treaty is a cornerstone of Obama’s efforts to reset US relations with Russia.

The New START treaty, negotiated last year, limits each side to 1,550 strategic warheads, down from 2,200.

It also reestablishes a monitoring system that ended in December 2009 with the expiration of an earlier arms deal.

The Senate approved the pact in late December.

The United States and Russia are expected to exchange ratification documents this weekend, thereby bringing the treaty into force, according to Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

— Globe wires and staff

Markey asks Zuckerberg to explain Facebook feature WASHINGTION — Edward Markey, Democrat of Malden, asked Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg yesterday to explain plans to proceed with a feature that would allow outside websites and application developers to access user addresses and mobile phone numbers.

Markey joined Republican Joe Barton of Texas — they are cochairman on the House Bipartisan Privacy Caucus — in a letter that also sought information on how Facebook is adjusting the feature before enabling it.

Facebook, encountering criticism over the feature when it was first announced in mid-January, temporarily disabled the feature, saying it would make changes to ensure people share such information only when they intend to do so. The company said in a Jan. 17 blog that it planned to reintroduce the feature in the following weeks.

“Facebook needs to protect the personal information of its users to ensure that Facebook doesn’t become Phonebook,’’ Markey said in a statement.

— Globe wires and staff top stories on Twitter

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