W.H. adviser: Obama will do "better" working with Congress in second term
Even on areas of consensus, though, the "simple but obvious truth," Washington Post's Bob Woodward said during a panel discussion later in the show, "is that governing is a collaboration between the White House and Congress - and let's face it, it's a collaboration that's not working. It is broken. And the president has not found a way to kind of close the deal with the leaders in the Republican Party, and quite frankly, with his own party.
"...You talk to senators and Congress members, as you know, and they feel Barack Obama doesn't like them, or is at least indifferent to them," Woodward continued. "In any negotiation you need to leave the opponent with their dignity. And the president's going out and sticking his finger in their eye."
The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan suggested a shift toward compromise would do Mr. Obama good, criticizing his "us guys versus you guys" mentality, "speaking in a way that is very sour about why Republicans take the stands they take." The president "implicitly is speaking about Republicans in a country who are half the country. I think that's a new way to play it, a tough and dicey way to play it."
Former Bill Clinton White House press secretary and Vanity Fair contributing editor Dee Dee Myers agreed that when negotiating you "have to let the other guy leave the table saying they got something for their side, because... they're going to give up something big if it's going to be an important deal." And Mr. Obama and his administration, she added, "has not done that as successfully as they need to," which leaves them with something akin to the Treaty of Versailles - "You solve the first world war with a treaty that sows the seeds of the second one," she said.
But former George W. Bush Secretary of State and CBS News contributor Condoleezza Rice suggested a "non-Washington" component could help propel the White House's promise to work better with Congress in the second term.
"Obviously, relations with Congress on one side of the aisle are pretty poisoned right now," she said. "But... the American people don't want to see this divisiveness. They want to see the president say, 'I won the election, and now here's where we're going, but we're going to keep together. I recognize that we have differences that may be deep, but first and foremost, we're Americans."
Mr. Obama can't communicate that, Rice continued, "from the point of view of, 'I'm going to put this down, and then you take it or leave it.' Because there are some deep, divisive issues within the immigration debate that are going to have to be smoothed over. So the American people - I like out in California; I don't live here in Washington. And I will tell you that out in the country, there's a sense that Washington is divided, and that's not a good thing for America."
Lindsey Boerma is senior video producer for CBSNews.com.Follow on Twitter »
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