But if you ask Capitol Hill watchers like Gonzales, the distance between Obama and Congress is an issue.
Democrats want a fuller embrace from their leader in the White House, while Republicans feel they aren't getting the level of respect they deserve.
For that to happen, says Gonzales, there has to be something in it for both sides.
"What is the incentive for them [the president and Republicans] to foster these relationships," Gonzales said. "Their time is valuable, just to be friends for the sake of being friends, I don't know that they have time. It is good in theory, but until they see the fruits of that time investment."
For Lott, the fruits of investing in collegiality are obvious -- lifelong friendships.
Lott said he still considers Democrat and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle a good friend, and that he has spent weekends away with former Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, both Republicans, and their wives.
Lott's most enduring relationship from Congress seems to be with Phil Gramm, a Democrat who switched parties in the House and then became a Republican senator from Florida.
Lott and his wife, Patricia, are close with Gramm and his wife, Wendy Lee. Last year they traveled to South Africa and Botswana on a personal trip together and the foursome plans to go to Turkey in June.
"Friends are for life," Lott said about Gramm. "Especially if they are real friends."