WASHINGTON (CNN) – Top Obama aides Larry Summers and David Axelrod heard a barrage of criticism late Thursday about the stimulus plan at a closed-door meeting for all Democratic senators, according to several participants who spoke afterwards.
Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa said he was “concerned about the way Mr. Summers and others are going on this.” In particular, he dismissed the tax breaks for individuals as a return to “trickle down” economics that won’t work.
Harkin said the Obama aides were “non-committal” about whether they would change their plan.
However, according to Sen. Kent Conrad, Summers said the senators’ message was “received loud and clear.”
Asked what he thought about the “pushback” from fellow Democrats, Axelrod said, “I’m not going to characterize it as pushback. I’m going to characterize it as people doing their jobs.”
Democratic Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois said he thought the new administration is open to modifying their package. “I don’t sense they have it set in stone,” he said.
“That’s the stage we’re in now. Talking about options. What will work, what won’t work. There’s not violent reaction against it,” Durbin said.