Obama won debt ceiling fight, says DNC

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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Democrats won the debt ceiling fight and they have the poll numbers to prove it, says Patrick Gaspard, the former White House official now running the Democratic National Committee.

“This agreement was a stinging defeat for the Ryan/House Republican Budget approach,” read a memo signed by Gaspard, “and was also a thorough rejection of the GOP’s so called ‘Cut, Cap and Balance’ plan, which was simply the Tea Party version of the Ryan plan on steroids.”

Gaspard’s memo, distributed by the DNC’s press office, is titled “Shocker: Washington Pundits Got the Debt Fight Fallout Wrong.”

CNN and Gallup polls showed that a hefty majority of Democrats and liberals support the deal, Gaspard declared. And U.S. media, he contends, rushed to award a political victory to Republicans because it was swayed by “a small cadre of Washington-based pundits and activists making their assessments off of one-sided leaks and spin.”

The memo’s release follows widespread complaints by Democratic activists that the deal was a defeat for the party. “This deal is a sugar-coated Satan sandwich,” said Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, who was followed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calling it “a Satan sandwich with Satan fries on the side.”

President Obama himself acknowledged last night during an online meeting of his 2012 campaign volunteers that “this past week was a frustrating week.” (RELATED: White House on worst market drop since 2008: ‘Markets go up and down’)

The White House also posted a blog item intended to counter “some of the most common misconceptions we’ve been hearing about the deal,” said Jon Carson, director of the White House’s office of public engagement.

The blog post called the notion that President Obama “caved” a “myth,” claiming the president’s “priorities are reflected in this compromise … we avoided default … we set up a path forward that will put pressure on Congress to adopt a balanced approach … [and] we raised the debt ceiling until 2013.”

Gaspard argues in his memo that the proof of the Democrats’ debt-ceiling victory is that they liked the resulting deal more than Republicans did. A CNN poll, he wrote, showed that the deal was opposed by 58 percent of Republicans, but approved of by 63 percent of Democrats. And a Gallup poll, Gaspard added, found that 64 percent of Republicans, but only 28 percent of Democrats, disliked the deal.

The same CNN poll showed that 43 percent of respondents gave credit to Republicans for the deal, with only 34 percent crediting President Obama. Just 18 percent said both parties deserve credit.