In recent weeks, a widespread belief has taken hold among Democratic House members that they have dutifully gone along with the White House on politically risky issues — including the stimulus plan, the health-care overhaul and climate change — without seeing much, if anything, in return. Many of them are angry that Obama has actively campaigned for Democratic Senate candidates but has done fewer events for House members.
The boiling point came Tuesday night during a closed-door meeting of House Democrats in the Capitol. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) excoriated White House press secretary Robert Gibbs’s public comments over the weekend that the House majority was in doubt and that it would take “strong campaigns by Democrats” to avert dramatic losses.
“What the hell do they think we’ve been doing the last 12 months? We’re the ones who have been taking the tough votes,” Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (N.J.) said in an interview Wednesday.
Attempting to quell the uprising, Obama met privately with House Democratic leaders Wednesday evening to reassure them of his support. Aides said the meeting went well and focused on the agenda in the run-up to the elections.