Among the Obama supporters now publicly urging him to reject Keystone is Bill Burton, who formed the Obama-sanctioned super PAC that helped fuel Obama's re-election victory last year. Now an adviser to the League of Conservation Voters, Burton is coordinating "All Risk, No Reward," a coalition that's airing ads urging Americans to stand against the pipeline.
Liberal activists in recent weeks have also urged Obama to stand firm on his proposals for reducing gun violence, rather than let some measures — like an assault-weapons ban and limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines — fade away in hopes of securing enough support from Republicans and centrist Democrats to get a bill through Congress. And a few Democrats, including Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, have joined with libertarian-minded Republicans to raise concerns about Obama's drone policy.
Their protestations come as Obama is seeking to improve relations with Congressional Republicans, an effort that will continue Wednesday when Obama, hours after releasing his budget, will host a cohort of Senate Republicans for a dinner at the White House.
White House officials say they're not looking to pick a fight with liberal supporters over the budget or any other issue. Administration officials are reaching out to various groups to explain why Obama believes the measures he's proposing are both best for the country and in line with the values he campaigned on.
But the risk of upsetting the left-flank of the Democratic Party may be less worrisome to Obama now that his last election is behind him. In fact, it could give Obama cover to argue that he's offering concessions deeply unpopular with his base in the name of compromise — and Republicans should, too.
"That gives him leverage," said Democratic strategist Maria Cardona. "He's demonstrating to the majority of Americans who got him elected — along with his base — that he's trying to do something that is real and can actually pass Congress."
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