One adviser said they spent the past dozen days "soul-searching."Gaming out.... Am I wrong to hear that as electoral politics?
Another said that, around the White House, "people aren't just sitting around doing soul-searching. They're gaming out the short, medium and long term."
Advisers also said it will probably take months, if not longer, to develop a strategy for restoring some of the early promise of the Obama presidency, particularly the notion that he was a different kind of Democrat.Am I wrong to hear this as a repulsive desire to re-engulf us in a mindless hopey-changey mood? I don't care about a feeling of "promise." I see America's grim sense of reality as a hard-won accomplishment. We're awake now. The dream is over.
In a nod to that ambition, his weekly address Saturday focused on earmark reform, one way, Obama said, of "restoring public trust."
Over the next few days, White House officials said they will begin to gauge whether they can forge an alliance with any top Republicans, many of whom are scheduled to attend a bipartisan meeting at the White House on Thursday. Although Obama could benefit from a high-profile compromise - perhaps on extending the Bush-era tax cuts or on other tax initiatives set to expire before the end of the year - officials are also prepared to point out any Republican intransigence.The medium and long term game plan is the Republicans will screw up enough to take advantage of. The short-term plan is to look willing to so something bipartisan and beneficent.