September 30th, 2010
04:52 PM ET
8 years ago

Sources: top Democrats want an aggressive Obama on the trail

(CNN) - Democratic congressional leaders used a White House strategy session Thursday to push President Barack Obama to be more aggressive in helping them campaign in the final weeks before November's elections, multiple senior Democratic sources familiar with the meeting tell CNN.

According to the sources, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the president that congressional Democrats want to see more of the kind of campaign rally and rhetoric he displayed this week in Wisconsin. They said they especially want him to continue to make the case - and the contrast with Republicans - on jobs and the economy.

The president said he would, and signaled that there are other campaign events in the works beyond the handful that have already been announced, according to the sources.

"Members wanted to hear directly from the president," one of the sources tells CNN.

Another source familiar with the meeting said the message from Pelosi and other Democratic leaders was that "you are good on the stump, get out there, we need it."

A third source said Democratic leaders told him that "Wisconsin was good. More please."

A fourth source familiar with the meeting said Democratic leaders discussed with the president the need to focus on the party's base and make sure it's revved up. But, the source added, the lawmakers also told him that "we can't forget about the independents."

Several of the sources insisted the tone of the meeting, attended by both House and Senate Democratic leaders, was not hostile.

Congressional Democratic sources have told CNN lawmakers were frustrated throughout the summer that the White House was not aggressive enough in helping them make the case for Democrats' policies. They were especially concerned that the president had not been talking enough about economy, the number one issue this election year.

"Whatever minor disagreements people may have had in the past, people have moved past those and agreed to do whatever we need to do to bring as many members back as possible," insisted one of the senior Democratic sources.

Although Obama's popularity has dipped, Democrats say they still believe that when he is "on" - like they believe he was in Wisconsin this week - he is their best campaign advocate and spokesman against the Republicans.

"If we let the other side take control of Congress, they'll spend the next two years fighting to preserve tax breaks for companies that create jobs and profits overseas - billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies that we lose each year," Obama said earlier this week, with his sleeves rolled up.

Two of the sources familiar with Thursday's White House meeting say the president pressed Democratic leaders to pass the stalled child nutrition bill, a priority for the first lady.

House Democrats are holding that up because some of the new provisions are being paid for with money that had been slated for food stamps.

Filed under: Democrats • President Obama
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Randolph Carter (the real one), I'm no expert, but...

    Aggressive? Hahaha. Funny. Obama is a comprimiser and that's all he is. He rolled over and let our congress critters take all of the reform out of his reforms. And then the republicans still didn't vote for any of it. What a maroon. I'm voting socialist from here on out. Have a nice day!

    September 30, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. Me

    He needs to get tuff
    and Ride rip shod over the Republicans
    Act as if you are out destroy them
    they are out to destroy you


    September 30, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Okay. I'm with that. But are some of you sissies going to stand side-by-side with him and be just as aggressive? Or are you putting him out front to take the 'hits' while you cower and dodge for cover?

    Which is it going to be?
    There's strength in UNITY. I hate to say it, but ask any RethugliKKKlan.

    September 30, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. We The People Rebellion

    b. HUSSENI obama, , the muslim non-christian socialist wanna be hitler, can I ask you when the last time you walked on water was, well on Nov 2, we will be seeing if you can tread water among We The People, rebellion is near and you are done.

    September 30, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  5. GOP Scorched Earth Politics

    Yes Obama is STILL the man despite all the hooplah from the GOP clones. America needs NEW Democratic leadership, not the OLD Clinton Big $ Lobbyist deadbeats like Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson. The old school Dem's stink and differ very little from GOP – complicit with going along with the police-state Patriot Act laws and the Iraq War for Cheney corporate welfare.

    September 30, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. vic, Nashville TN

    Democratic congressional leaders drag the health care bill now they want President more aggressive

    September 30, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. L4Legend

    The dems also need to speak up for themselvesas well. They need to get off their cans of do nothing and promote their agenda.

    September 30, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  8. jim

    Obama will do whatever it takes to substain his agenda to help create "a socialist utopia" He's already tossed aside the label of being called a "liberal"because he thinks "progressive " sounds better.

    September 30, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  9. Randolph Carter (the real one), I'm no expert, but...

    "Obama will do whatever it takes to substain his agenda to help create "a socialist utopia" He's already tossed aside the label of being called a "liberal"because he thinks "progressive " sounds better."

    Jim, are people like you for real? Most people with brains know he's a little right of center and a corporatist like the Clintons. Have a nice day!

    September 30, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  10. John Howard

    It seems that CNN has become FOX #2 – I'm so sick of hearing/seeing so many GOP and Tea Party stories. Also with every Obama instance there HAS to be a GOP counter point that usually ends the discussion. I would like CNN to spend a little time to reflect on all that Obama has accomplished in his less than two years in office with strong republican resistance.

    September 30, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. Paul

    A socialist utopia, is that like "we the people in order to form a more perfect union." Or like government of the people, by the people, for the people. Sure sounds a lot better than government by big corporations,big oil, and big banks.

    September 30, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  12. Not fooled

    The Democrats ( in Congress)need to back up their President. I get digusted when they run away from him. Yet if he wins they reap the benefits. You are either on the team or not. Look at the Republicans the Party of No. They stick together. Back up your president.If I was in your district I would not vote for you.

    September 30, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  13. chelka

    Obama is nothing but a fraud and the people are on to him.
    He has become a joke.

    September 30, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  14. DeeTee

    So why does Obama have to do everything? He's not even running for office this election!

    These Dems need to get out there and hustle for their own votes too. That's why people came out to vote in record numbers in 2008. We liked Obama's enthusiasm and boldness. Where is YOUR enthusiam???

    We are energized by Dems who act like they want the job are brimming with ideas and are unfraid to say what they believe AND stand by what they believe, LIKE OBAMA!

    I am not excited to run out and vote for Dems who have one foot in and one foot out when it comes to supporting our President and his agenda. We all read the news accounts of some of you suddenly being "unavailable" when the President visited your town. Say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!?!?

    A lot of you seem to be only concerned about keeping your jobs.

    September 30, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  15. Jack

    How about Obozo and the Dems govern rather than campaign? Get to work on unemployment and good things may happen.
    Obama: the most divisive partisan socailist President in history. He is a one term wonder and you can take that to the bank!

    September 30, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  16. Dean

    I want Obama on the trail too, the trail out of the White House.

    September 30, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  17. Casey M

    I find it offensive that Democratic congressional leaders would have the nerve to tell President Obama to be aggressive. They have spent the last 2 years showing the American people that they do not know the first thing about being aggressive. If they did, they would not be getting voted out of congress this November. I'm officially declaring this a broken political system for both sides. Cant wait to see the Right come in and magically fulfill this "Pledge to America" without adding to the deficit.

    September 30, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  18. Eli

    America doesn't need more aggression but more assertiveness in its politicians. Aggression implies conflict and adversialism while assertion implies respect and cooperation. The handshake is stronger than the fist.

    September 30, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  19. armchairpolitics

    The only thing he's really good at, campaigning. We need a leader not an organizer. You convinced us to give you a chance and for a year and a half you still act as though you're running for office. I've given up on you actually acting like a leader. The only time you get passionate about anything is when you are on the "trail". Never again.

    September 30, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  20. the real ib

    See what Obama has done for us; triple the defecit; unemployment at near 10%; great job Obama time to vote you and buddies out. Remember in Nov.

    September 30, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  21. King

    The country is coming back from the worst devastation any of us have ever seen dispite the great negativity and obstruction the repugs have thrown out to see the country failed. Now the people are poise to put the repug back in power with the same policy to finish us all off. Theyve been brain washed by fox entertainment news.

    September 30, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  22. George of the jungle

    the dems need to stand up too. they can't stand behind the president and have him take all the hits. Everyone who keeps complaining that this is a socialist adgenda wouldn't know socialism if it hit them in the face. Get over it. There is some momentum here so let's keep it going. Vote the repos out. unless you want to go backwards. If the tax breaks will hinder the recovery then why have they not helped now. ??? More repo hog wash.

    September 30, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  23. Name authenic truth

    Wow it is apparent that every resource available has come against this man,includeing Cnn they sound more foxy than fox,misleading the masses,concerneing this president.

    September 30, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  24. mrrationalhbg

    Sources say that his supporters wanted an aggressive Obama since he was elected! These idiots finally get it! Let's see if he can produce... I'm keeping my fingers crossed. We've been pushed around for far too long.

    September 30, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  25. CNN: Helping Americans forget the names of the continents since 1980

    I guess that would be nice. But if EVERYBODY voted (except the "illegals" – had to get that in their before some Teabagger pipes up), there would be no CNN (unless they actually decided to do journalism); politicians in the democratic party would actually have cajones; and politicians within the republican party would be thoughtful and caring. There would be no K street either – the only special interest in the country would be its electorate. And elected officials would actually listen to constituents when they speak. (sigh) Pie in the sky...

    September 30, 2010 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
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