Ohio’s Republican governor, John Kasich, took over the White House briefing lectern on Friday to praise the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, an unusual move that shows how hard President Barack Obama will push for the trade deal’s approval.

Obama, a Democrat who is leaving office in four months, met with the governor, who fell short in his bid to be the Republican presidential candidate, in the White House Oval Office to discuss strategies for overcoming domestic political angst over the TPP.

The unlikely partnership comes as the White House makes a final full-court push to persuade Republican congressional leaders to approve the deal in a “lame duck” session after the Nov. 8 election. Both Republican and Democratic candidates have pilloried the TPP.

“We cannot get to the point in America that because a Democrat wants something, you can’t agree with them,” Kasich said in an impassioned plea to Republican lawmakers to back the deal, which is a key part of Obama’s foreign policy legacy.

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