Press secretary Robert Gibbs said on MSNBC's "Daily Rundown" that the message from the Democratic defeat in Massachusetts was "not that we somehow abandon our pursuit on things that are important to the middle class."
The message that the voters sent Obama last night was that they don't think they are in pursuit of things that are important to the middle class. Maybe the electorate doesn't like having health care rammed down their throats after they've made it abundantly clear they don't like it. Gibbs then tries to frame the loss as a purely economic issue.
"The main thing that we saw in Massachusetts was the same sense of concern on the part of middle class folks about the economic situation, about their wages being stagnant, about their jobs being lost," he said. "That's something that we have to pay a great deal of attention to."Sure, the economy was a concern, but wasn't there another issue? One that featured prominently in ads from both sides? Something about being the 41st Senator opposed to something? Oh what could it be?
Gibbs tries to downplay the whole question of the election as a referendum on Obama, unknowingly creating a paradox for himself.
White House aides rejected the idea that the Massachusetts election was a referendum on Obama himself. The Democratic candidate was leading by double digits just weeks ago, an indication, they said, that the political environment set by the president was not dragging her down.
Of course, just weeks ago, the economy was doing great too. Right? It only suddenly plunged along with Coakley's poll numbers.