President Barack Obama on Friday engaged in a rare face-to-face showdown with Republican critics and testily accused them of trying to block his policies while urging them to "join with me" in creating jobs.
The contentious 82-minute session showed the depth of the political divide that separates Democrats who control the U.S. Congress and Republicans who feel their ideas on the economy and healthcare are ignored.
That Obama agreed to not only address his opponents but take their questions live on cable television was a sign of how he is trying to dig out of his deepest political rut since taking office a year ago.
President Barack Obama's health care appeal failed to break the congressional gridlock Thursday, dimming hopes for millions of uninsured Americans. Democrats stared down a political nightmare — getting clobbered for voting last year for ambitious, politically risky bills, yet having nothing to show for it in November.
The grim reality opened a divide between the rank and file and congressional leaders, who insisted health care would get done, even though last week's special election in Massachusetts denied Democrats the 60-vote majority they need to deliver in the Senate. Many Democrats saw a problem with no clear solution.
"It's very possible that health care is just a stalemate and you can't solve it this year," said Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.
President Barack Obama told Americans the bipartisan deficit commission he will appoint won't just be "one of those Washington gimmicks." Left unspoken in that assurance was the fact that the commission won't have any teeth.
Obama confronted some tough realities in his State of the Union speech Wednesday night, chief among them that Americans are continuing to lose their health insurance as Congress struggles to pass an overhaul.
Yet some of his ideas for moving ahead skirted the complex political circumstances standing in his way.
A look at some of Obama's claims and how they compare with the facts:
President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he would seek the repeal of the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy that permits gays to serve in uniform as long as they hide their sexual orientation.
Obama, smarting from a political setback in Massachusetts that saw Democrats lose a Senate seat, sought to make good on a campaign promise that gay rights activists wanted in his first year in office.
In his first State of the Union speech and in the midst of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama called for ending the Pentagon policy that began in the early 1990s.
"This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are," he said.
The Republican Party is seeking input and money from GOP voters — seemingly under the guise of the U.S. Census Bureau.
"Strengthening our Party for the 2010 elections is going to take a massive grass-roots effort all across America. That is why I have authorized a Census to be conducted of every Congressional District in the country," GOP Chairman Michael Steele says in a letter mailed nationwide.
The letter was sent in plain white envelopes marked "Do Not Destroy, Official Document." Labeled "2010 Congressional District Census," the letter uses a capital "C," the same as the Census Bureau. It also includes a "Census Tracking Code."
The four men accused of trying to tamper with Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu's office phones share a common experience as young ideologues writing for conservative publications.
Federal authorities said two of the men posed as telephone workers wearing hard hats, tool belts and flourescent vests when they walked into the senator's office inside a federal building in New Orleans on Monday. The other two were accused of helping to organize the plan.
The most well-known of the suspects is James O'Keefe, a 25-year-old whose hidden-camera expose posing as a pimp with his prostitute infuriated the liberal group ACORN and made him a darling of conservatives.
Among MSNBC's collection of liberal loudmouths, Ed Schultz is easily the most bombastic.
Schultz has unleashed taunting tirades against guests who don't share his liberal view of the world but has proven think skinned when he comers under attack.
Schultz, for example, stormed off the set of a Fox News show when he came under the same kind of attack he unleashes on others.
Now Shultz brags that he told White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs: "You're full of shit" and then accuses Gibbs of obscenity when the White House Spokesman told Schultz to go fuck himself.
Interesting double standard.Read More
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, under the leadership of future Teasury Secretary Tim Geithner, invoked "national security" as an excuse to conceal details of the taxpayer-funded bailout of American International Group, Reuters is reporting.
In an email sent out by the Fed in January 2009, the Fed and AIG cited "national security interests" as a reason to invoke "special security procedures" to hide details of the bailout from public view.
The Fed demanded "assurances" from the Securities and Exchange Commission that only a limited number of SEC employees would have access to information on the bailout and insisted on a public blackout of details.Read More
More problems for President Barack Obama's increasingly unpopular agenda: Most Americans now opose the stimulus program that was the linchpin of his economic recovery program.
A new national poll by CNN/Opinion Research shows 56 percent opposing the stimulus and just 42 percent still feeling the stimulus was a good idea.
The poll is a sharp turnaround from March of 2009 when 54 percent supported the stimulus and 44 percent opposing.
For a while, bashing former President George W. Bush seemed the best strategy for any Democrat who wanted to win an election.
Bush bashing no longer works. Voters have tired of the constant liberal mantra that all the problems facing American today are Bush's fault.
Time to find someone new to blame.
The problem, of course, is that after three years in controls of Congress and one year in the White House, the Democrats may have no one to blame but themselves.
Failure to address the problems now belongs to the failed Democratic leaders of Congress and President Barack Obama.
Polls show voters no longer buy the premise that Bush is solely to blame for the nation's economic ills
Question is: Will Democrats accept responsibility for their failures?