White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer was heckled and booed Friday at the annual Netroots Nation conference in Minnesota, a gathering of liberal activists from the online political community. When Mr. Pfeiffer reminded the audience that the president championed an equal-pay law, the moderator replied, “Frankly we’re a little sick of hearing about that one.”
Less than 24 hours earlier, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley heard heated complaints from business leaders about burdensome government regulations at a meeting of the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington. As Mr. Daley listened to tales of the administration’s unnecessary interference in industry, he replied, “Sometimes you can’t defend the indefensible.”
Mr. Daley’s comment prompted some backtracking by White House spokesman Jay Carney.
“You have to understand that he [Mr. Daley] went in there with no prior knowledge about the cases that were put before him,” Mr. Carney told reporters. “But obviously the [examples] that sounded bad, he thought, you know, sounded bad, and he said so.”
The president’s uneasy relationship with the business community has endured since the beginning of his term. But as Mr. Obama has traveled the county recently to speak at Democratic fundraisers, the president also has acknowledged that liberal supporters may have grown disillusioned with his leadership.
“It’s not as cool to be an Obama supporter as it was in 2008, with the posters and all that stuff,” Mr. Obama told Democrats at an exclusive fundraiser in Miami on Monday. “But the values that motivated me haven’t changed, and I hope they haven’t changed for you, either.”