There could be times when Obama will be closer to Republicans than to liberal Democrats, who were furious that Obama agreed to continue tax cuts for the wealthy — and to levy inheritance taxes only on the very richest Americans.
Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, who is being replaced as the House's majority leader, was asked by a reporter near the end of the last Congress how much trust exits between Obama and liberals.
"On a scale of one to 10 I'm not going to give you how much," he said. "As you know, I'm not willing to kind of create or affirm a breach between the White House and the Congress. I think there's always tension and there should be."