Republicans felt burned by the fiscal cliff deal, opposed further tax hikes and, contrary to West Wing predictions, would not cave. Senior administration officials also assumed Republicans wouldn’t be able to backtrack on their dire warnings of the sequester during the 2012 campaign and their party’s reliance on defense industry contributions.

“It was a gross miscalculation and a miscalculation that flew in the face of common sense,” said Jim Dyer, a former Republican appropriations aide on Capitol Hill. “They poked the Republicans once too hard.”

Former White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the sequester fight showed that “there were limits to [Obama’s] effectiveness campaigning against the Republican House.”

“That approach wasn’t particularly successful,” said Myers, who was press secretary under Bill Clinton. “So it’s time to try something else. And this is something he’s been getting a lot of advice about recently, that he’s been a little aloof. He hasn’t invested time building relationships on either side of the aisle, quite frankly, and maybe it’s time to try a different approach.”

White House officials began privately acknowledging several weeks ago that the president would have to return to a big deal if he hoped to wring any more revenue out of Congress.