Not an endorsement you’d want, but it fits our RINO governor well.

Shunning the partisan rancor surrounding the nation’s latest budget battle, President Barack Obama on Monday praised Tennessee’s top Republican as a model for a stubborn Congress, according to Chris Carroll.

Hosting the nation’s governors at the White House, Obama singled out Gov. Bill Haslam as a flexible leader House and Senate Republicans should imitate. The mention came right after the president slammed fiscal hawks for refusing to bend on $85 billion in across-the-board budget cuts scheduled to begin Friday.

Nine congressional Republicans call Tennessee home and consider Haslam an important political ally. But unlike them, Obama hinted, governors know “compromise is essential to getting things done.”

“That’s how Governor Haslam balanced his budget last year in Tennessee while still investing in key areas like education for Tennessee’s kids,” Obama said. “Like the rest of us, [he knows] we can’t just cut our way to prosperity. Cutting alone is not an economic policy.”

Called “sequestration,” the automatic cuts comprise part of a 2011 deficit reduction bill. They were designed as an incentive for Congress to find a reasonable path toward eliminating $1.5 trillion over the next decade. Lawmakers failed, and the sequester could trigger as early as Friday.

Haslam was unable to respond to Obama’s compliment as planned. He was scheduled to present the Republican reaction after the president’s speech, but a “family health situation” prematurely brought Haslam home to Tennessee, according to spokesman Dave Smith.

In a statement, Smith hinted the governor doesn’t mind how the president views him.

“The governor’s style is to build consensus, and he’s done that during his time in office” Smith said, mentioning the governor’s efforts on teacher tenure and civil service reform.

Democrats support a mixed approach to avoiding sequestration. Obama’s deficit reduction plan includes $1.5 trillion in spending cuts and new revenue from closing various tax loopholes.

Many Republicans have a two-word solution: Spending cuts.

Knox News Blog…Humphrey on the Hill