Dems defend Obama's outreach: "Damned if you do, damned if you don't"

“It’s the old expression, ‘Damned if you do, damned if you don’t,’ ” Rep. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.), vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, told reporters. “Had the president not reached out, I think all of you would be criticizing him for not reaching out to both Democrats and Republicans. He’s doing what you all have been asking.” …

“John Lenin had a song, ‘Give Peace a Chance,’ ” Crowley said. “He hasn’t even come here yet and already you’re criticizing him … on what his motivations are. Let’s hear what the president has to say. … We need to get back to that point where we respect the office of the presidency.” …

Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.), the Democratic whip, disagreed. He said “it’s always useful” for the president to reach out to Congress – particularly those who disagree with him – for the sake of seeking compromise. Hoyer blamed the Tea Party for shifting the Republican conference to the right and resisting compromise, despite Obama’s overtures.

“I’m amused when I hear that President Obama hasn’t reached out enough. Every time he’s reached out, they’ve bitten off his hand,” Hoyer said Wednesday during a press briefing in the Capitol.