The seminal moment of this morning's q-and-a between Senate Democrats and President Obama was an extraordinary -- and extraordinarily uncomfortable -- exchange between Blanche Lincoln and Obama over the party's left and right wings.
Obama, in professorial mode, had spent much of the first hour of today's appearance instructing Democrats to stay his progressive course on health care and other key issues.
Lincoln, who faces serious competition in her '10 re-elect -- and a 27 percent approval rate in Arkansas -- practically demanded Obama "push back in our own party... for people at the extremes."
She added that "no one in your administration" understands how to make payroll.
Obama shot back hard, warning Lincoln, gently but firmly, that he had no intention of adopting the previous administration's policies, cautioning, "I don't know what would differentiate us from the other guys." [quickie transcript]
"We should not be spooked," he added.
The Hill's account of the session says that Lincoln's payroll comment was in the context of repeating the opinion of a constituent. Question for Sen. Lincoln: When you talk about people who "want extremes" -- name names and the extremes. Would it be a senator who believes in universal health care? Another who believes in equal rights? Another who believes billionaires should pay estate taxes? Another who believes in the right to organize? What?
More detail on the Obama-Lincoln exchange here. He calls out any who are suggesting a return to failed Bush policies.