Consider that in just a week’s time:
—Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate’s Democratic leader, was on the verge of cutting a deal with Republicans with a 10-year price tag of more than $400 billion in tax breaks without White House input.
—Sen. Chuck Schumer, a prominent member of the Senate Democratic leadership, raised new doubts about the timing of Obama’s 2010 health care law.
—Sen. Robert Menendez, the outgoing chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, began work with Republicans against the Obama administration’s wishes on new penalties against Iran.
“There is always going to be some friction between somebody who’s never going to run again and a bunch of people who are,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. “There’s going to be a natural rub there — the president never has to worry about his approval rating again.”