- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 15, 2010

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday denied there was friction between House Democrats and the White House, downplaying reports that she has accused the president of ignoring their interests.

“There is absolutely no reason to think that the White House has been anything but cooperative with us in terms of our political efforts to retain (control of) Congress,” Mrs. Pelosi told reporters Thursday.

Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, added that House Democrats “have no better leader or advocate” than President Obama.

The speaker’s comments contradict news reports this week that she and other House Democrats privately have accused the president of not doing enough to help vulnerable members during what is expected to be a tough election season for the party.

Some House Democrats have grumbled that Mr. Obama has been much too eager to campaign for Senate Democrats while largely ignoring party members in the House, many of whom are facing tough re-election battles in November.

Some House Democrats also have expressed frustration that the president has pushed them to pass controversial legislation that either has stalled in the Senate or eventually was signed into law in a watered-down form, such as health care reform and the economic stimulus packages. Such a scenario, they say, has left them open to attacks on the campaign trail.

Tensions between House Democrats and the administration increased Sunday, when White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the party could lose control of the House after the November elections.

The situation intensified Tuesday during a closed-door meeting of House Democrats, where, according to news reports, many lawmakers vented frustration regarding what they perceived was unfair treatment by the administration.

Mrs. Pelosi said a Wednesday-evening meeting between House Democratic leaders and the president went well and focused mostly on jobs creation and reducing the unemployment rate.

Mr. Gibbs on Thursday also characterized the meeting as “quite productive.”

“I think that was the readout as well from the speaker and the House leadership in helping to coordinate the agenda that the Democrats would pursue going forward,” Mr. Gibbs told reporters aboard Air Force One.

“I think that was described by both parties as not being contentious.”

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, on Thursday said the reported Democratic tussle reflects a party in “panic” and engaged in a “full-scale civil war.”

“With all the trouble that House Democrats are in right now, there was really only a matter of time before the gloves came off. I just didn’t know that the targets would be each other,” Mr. Boehner said.

“I understand that House Democrats are angry because they see the White House throwing them under the bus.”

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