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February 5th, 2010
10:46 AM ET

Obama must pull his party into line

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Ruben Navarrette
Special to CNN

Watching Barack Obama hold separate Q&A's with members of Congress - House Republicans last week, Senate Democrats this week - has its ups and downs

On the one hand, I was impressed with how Obama took on his ideological adversaries in the House, challenging them to keep an open mind and making them seem like crybabies for wanting to set the national agenda even though they keep losing elections.

Yet, on the other, I was depressed at how he squandered a meeting Wednesday with his former Democratic Senate colleagues, who are as blinded by partisanship and intent on putting their interest ahead of their constituents' as anyone in Washington.

Outside the Beltway, Obama likes to play the role of the centrist who wrings his hands over how both parties behave in Washington. He casts himself as the outsider mystified by the way in which the hard-liners oversimplify tough problems and approach every issue in terms of all or nothing. Bashing both parties sells.

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