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Senate Republicans, for instance, did not join their House counterparts in lining up behind the agenda. Some Republicans have criticized it for lacking specifics on how to reduce deficits while extending tax cuts.

Fiscally conservative Democrats are resisting pleas by Mr. Obama, Mrs. Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, to extend the Bush middle-class tax cuts but allow taxes to rise on households making more than $250,000 a year.

Neither party “is getting a clear strategy or message together,” said American University political scientist James Thurber. “The election will be about anger, with not a lot of content.”

Economists disagree on the effectiveness of Mr. Obama’s stimulus program. Much of the money has gone into tax cuts and helping hard-pressed states instead of directly creating jobs.

“The stimulus bill was a positive, but we didn’t get nearly the bang for the buck that we should have,” said David Wyss, chief economist for Standard & Poor’s in New York.

“The financial regulation bill did fix some of the stuff that needed to be fixed, but it failed to fix a lot that should have been fixed and tried to fix what wasn’t broken. And the health care reform concentrated on improving coverage and did nothing for cost control.”

As for Republicans, he conjured up a reference to Harry Potter’s school.

“I frankly haven’t seen any recommendations from them that would have significantly helped,” Mr. Wyss said. “They’re all in favor of cutting taxes, not cutting spending, and balancing the budget by, I guess, Hogwarts economics.”