(CNN) – Democrats and Republicans woke up this week with a fresh perspective on the midterm elections.
To many political observers, the election of Republican Scott Brown is a game changer. He overcame what at one point was a 30-point deficit to defeat Democrat Martha Coakley in a special election to serve out the remainder of the late Ted Kennedy's Senate term.
Democrats are trying to calm frustrated voters and make sure that recent losses in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia don't become a national trend. Republicans, still jubilant from last week's win, are hoping to capitalize on the excitement brewing from a refueled base.
TOPICS: Barack Obama, race relations, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Timothy Geithner, Robert Gates, Eric Holder, Joe Lieberman, Ben Bernanke, Tiger Woods, Congress, Republicans, Democrats, opinion of government, economy, budget deficit, health care, Afghanistan, Martin Luther King, New Year's Eve, college football
Washington (CNN) - Health care reform is a signature issue for Democrats, but the attempt to overhaul the nation's health system has pitted liberals against centrists, exposing fissures 11 months before the 2010 midterm elections.
A year ago Democrats were united in victory after winning back the White House and picking up additional seats in Congress. But with victory comes expectations that are accentuated when a party controls both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
For Democrats, it is the party's political base - voters who turned out in 2008 to help elect Barack Obama president and boost the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate - which is demanding results.
Simply by the numbers, the health care overhaul should easily pass Congress. Democrats comfortably control the House of Representatives, and with the assistance of two Democratic-allied independents have the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster in the Senate.
Related video: Will health care deal hold?
Except it is not about numbers on health care. It is about differences in ideology on the public option and abortion that has slowed down the bill.
TOPICS: Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Tim Pawlenty, Republican Party, Democratic Party, 2012 GOP nomination, Congress, terrorism, economy, race relations, environment, health care, Afghanistan, Iran, immigration, Nobel Peace Prize, H1N1 flu
TOPICS: Obama, Republicans and Democrats in Congress, Obama rating on issues, most important problem, opinion of government, mood of the country, economy, recession, terrorism, 9/11, health care, Afghanistan, H1N1 flu, Cash for Clunkers
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Call it a shot fired across the bow, or simply a stern warning to congressional Democrats: Power corrupts, and we are watching your every move. And if we think you are no longer representing the interests of your constituents, we will try to defeat you next year.
A Republican threat? Good guess, but no.
This is what Democratic activists are telling lawmakers of their own party, and they have formed a political action committee to raise money and help galvanize support for Democratic primary challengers in 2010.
WATCH more on political infighting
Accountability Now PAC formally launched Thursday, creating a potential headache for Democratic leaders who would rather spend time focused on expanding their congressional majorities next year rather than defending Democrats from fellow Democrats.
Watch the President's spirited defense of the Democratic stimulus package being considered by the Senate.
WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Thursday that "the scale and the scope" of his economic plan is right, turning up the heat on critics he said were hawking "phony arguments" and "false theories of the past" to chip away at the bill's programs.
"Don't come to the table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped to create this crisis," the president said at the House Democrats' annual retreat in Williamsburg.
"We're not going to get relief by turning back to the very same policies that, for the last eight years, doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin," he said. "We can't embrace the losing formula that says only tax cuts will work for every problem we face, that ignores critical challenges like our addiction to foreign oil, or the soaring cost of health care, or failing schools and crumbling bridges and roads and levees.
"I don't care whether you're driving a hybrid or an SUV - if you're headed for a cliff, you've got to change direction."
The Democrats welcomed the president with frequent interruptions for applause as he took on criticisms of the bill.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The nation was evenly divided during the bitterly fought 2000 campaign, but the election night map was not: Viewers saw a sea of red flooding most of the country, with blue states ringing the coasts.
Two cycles later, an analysis of a year’s worth of polling data released Wednesday suggests a far different electoral landscape, and a shift more dramatic than even the Democrats’ solid 2008 showing might suggest: an ocean of blue surrounding a shrinking red island in the center of the nation.