Following the Democrats' defeats in the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial elections, some in the party are rethinking their support for President Obama's more ambitious agenda items.
Democrats in Congress began "a nervous debate" Wednesday about the course the president has set after voters in both states cited the economy as by far their top concern, The Washington Post reported.
Sen. John D. Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said after a meeting of Senate leaders that there is a growing fear among Democrats that the main agenda items Obama is championing — healthcare reform and climate change — are not overly important to voters concerned about jobs.
Independent voters in particular are wary of Obama's ambitious proposals and the increasing federal debt, and those voters strongly supported Republicans in both Virginia and New Jersey.
"If that pattern holds a year from now, Democratic lawmakers in swing district could find themselves losing re-election battles," The Post observed.
Obama aides have sought to downplay the election results and their possible impact on Obama's priorities.
"People went to the polls and voted on local issues, not to either register support for or opposition to the president," press secretary Robert Gibbs maintained.
But Rep. Gerald Connolly of Virginia acknowledged that the election results in his state and elsewhere have "somewhat of a chilling effect, potentially, on the agenda."
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