Feb. 14 - President Obama speaks to house Democrats and says he is proud of the ''kind of courage and unity'' the caucus has shown, especially in passing a clean debt limit. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Obama addresses house Democrats on the final day of their three-day retreat in Cambridge, Maryland, which has lawmakers buzzing about policy and politics and edgy about their Election Day chances. "This caucus has shown time and time again, under the most difficult circumstances, the kind of courage and unity and discipline that has made me very, very proud," President Obama said. "We are no longer going to see, I believe, anybody try to hold our government hostage and threaten the full faith and credit of the United States of America in order to contract policy concessions. The fact that we were able to pass a clean debt limit is just one example of why when you guys are unified, you guys stick together, this country is better off," Obama said. In Cambridge, Democrats have been discussing their policy agenda, which includes raising the minimum wage and taking other steps to reduce the gap between the rich and poor. Democrats have applauded Obama for vowing to accomplish some goals through executive actions if Republicans resist. But Democrats have expressed frustration that the president does not always show a lot of fire. Traditionally, the party of a president loses seats in the mid-term election of the president's second term, largely due to some voter fatigue with the incumbent. According to the Gallup polling firm, since 1946, when presidents were above 50 percent approval, their party loses an average of 14 House seats in mid-term elections, When the president's approval is below 50 percent, like Obama's is now, his party loses an average of 36 seats. Since Obama's first term, Democrats have complained that he often seemed more interested in placating Republicans than his own party, such as in negotiating parameters of his healthcare plan and agreeing to deep spending cuts in 2011.