Democrats wonder: Might Barbara Boxer be too abrasive?

For some Democratic staffers, the incidents underscored the danger of having an outspoken partisan liberal in charge of making the kinds of compromises needed to get cap and trade through the Senate.

“One of the criticisms that comes down on Boxer a great deal is that she takes it to really a very personal level,” said one Democratic staffer.

Added another Democratic aide: “People don’t look at her as the person who’s going to make a deal and bring both sides to the table. Her way is the only way.”

Boxer says that she doesn’t regret the recent episodes — and that any attention her political opponents devote to them will help her in her 2010 reelection bid.