Obama says that it isn't his policies, but his communication skills
“I think that’s a fair argument. I think that, over the course of two years we were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that, we stopped paying attention to the fact that leadership isn’t just legislation. That it’s a matter of persuading people. And giving them confidence and bringing them together. And setting a tone,” Mr. Obama told 60 Minutes’ Steve Kroft in an exclusive interview set to air Sunday. . . .
The Economist understood this:
True, the president conceded that he had received a “shellacking” at the polls, and that “some election nights are more fun than others.” He accepted that the ultimate responsibility for the disappointment of voters rested with him. He claimed to be ready for compromise with the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, offering to “mix and match” ideas and, where necessary, disagree without being disagreeable. “I’ve got to do a better job, just like everybody else in Washington does,” he said. But the strenuous efforts of the White House press corps to get Mr Obama to say that his policy decisions of the past two years on health care, the stimulus package or anything else might have been mistaken came to naught. . . .
UPDATE: Obama's "tone-deaf" White House (or "sour grapes" by losing Dems?) (Alex Sink said the say comments to the Associated Press also.)
Florida Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink pointed an accusatory finger Friday at what she called a “tone-deaf” Obama White House to explain why she narrowly lost her campaign.
In an interview with POLITICO, Sink said the administration mishandled the response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, doesn’t appreciate the political damage done by healthcare reform and argued that her GOP opponent’s strategy of tying her to the president did grave damage to her candidacy in the state’s conservative Panhandle.
“They got a huge wake-up call two days ago, but unfortunately they took a lot of Democrats down with them,” said Sink of the White House.
She added: “They just need to be better listeners and be better at reaching out to people who are on the ground to hear about the realities of their policies as well as politics.” . . .
In a move that sounds like their rhetoric that the recession would have been even worse without the stimulus, the Obama administration says this:
White House aides and Democratic National Committee officials, however, say that without the involvement of the national party and Obama’s political arm, Organizing for America, Sink would have fared worse. . . .
At the Huffington Post:
It mystifies me how someone who seemed so tuned in to the public pulse during the campaign became so strategically tone-deaf after he was elected. I think he may have badly overestimated the meaning of the 2008 election, particularly with respect to swing independents, who were voting against Bush, more than for Obama, just as yesterday they voted against the economic situation, without understanding its sources or what would remedy it. . . .
Dana Milbank at the Washington Post discusses how Hillary Clinton would have done things differently. Many of the points raised by Milbank would have done real damage to the economy (e.g., the foreclosure moratorium), but Democrats are looking to figure out what went wrong.