What Democrats want Obama to say

Stop saying the plan is working. Obama’s record of domestic achievement — passing health care reform, forcing through banking regulations, stopping economic freefall — and the public’s disdain for such “results” is the most distinctive feature of the Obama presidency. Nothing frustrates the West Wing more than the idea that the president cannot take credit for what they regard as a record of historic accomplishment and canny crisis management.

But they have to let it go, Democrats say. Quit defending the economic policies, however sound, that have left the country with a 9.6 percent unemployment rate. Ditch the just-give-our-remedies-more-time-to-work stuff — emphasize the fight, not a statistical recovery many working-class voters aren’t experiencing.

“They believe that they have to say what they’re doing is working, but let me tell you, that’s annoying the hell out of people,” said James Carville, the former Bill Clinton adviser. “No one thinks it’s true. It irritates people who are out there struggling and just feeds this perception that they are out of touch.”