Democrats left town early Thursday weighing their next steps on everything from the stalled health-care bill to competing job-creation packages. Before they departed, some criticized Obama for casting blame on the Senate, where moderates felt singled out for ridicule. Others sought to shift the burden to the GOP, latching on to Obama’s call for Republicans to share responsibility for governing after a devastating special-election loss left Democrats a vote shy of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Still others said the president’s calls for bipartisanship were wishful thinking and suggested that daring Republicans to block their ambitious agenda would set up a “liberating” contrast for November’s midterm elections…
Moderates said the president did not meet their hopes that he would adjust his legislative strategy to consider the Senate’s limitations, including the need for Republican votes on most major bills. “I thought he was pointing the finger at the Senate a lot,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). “I do not think it was fair.”
Landrieu echoed the concern of several Democrats who said Obama still has not stated his preference on how to proceed on health-care reform. “I think the president should have been more clear,” she said. “I’m hoping in the next week or two, he will be. Mailing in general suggestions, sending them over the transom, is not necessarily going to work.”
Other Democrats said they wish Obama had been a more direct part of the legislative process.