Obama ‘Surprised and Frustrated’ by Tight Mass. Senate Race

Posted January 19, 2010 at 3:12pm

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Tuesday acknowledged that President Barack Obama is shocked by the closeness of the Massachusetts Senate race, and he suggested the surge of support for GOP candidate Scott Brown is at least partially a result of unhappiness with the economic condition of the country.

“He was surprised and frustrated,— Gibbs said in answer to a question about the president’s reaction to the unexpected closeness of a Senate race in one of the bluest states in the country.

Gibbs said there was widespread frustration with the economy, but he indicated this was understood even before the race tightened in Massachusetts. “This isn’t something that’s known simply because there’s an election in one state,— Gibbs said. “I think there’s a tremendous amount of upset and anger in this country about where we are economically.—

Gibbs said some of the anger dates back to the previous administration, but he acknowledged that it also centers on Obama. “I think there is certainly some attachment to us,— he said. “I think there’s some larger attachment to this town. I think there’s an attachment to the pace of that recovery that you would count the president among those frustrated about.—

Gibbs also suggested that the White House may not be doing a good enough job selling the health care bill.

“I think we’d be the first to admit that we think there are a lot more benefits than people see and feel in these bills,— Gibbs said. “If that’s a failing, I think that’s certainly a failing that I and others here at the White House take responsibility for up to and including the president.—