A frustrated Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) launched a profanity-laced diatribe directed at Obama's top adviser, David Axelrod, following meeting between Obama and Senate Democrats in early February, according to the Washington Post.
"I'm there in the arena with you," Obama told Senate Dems before departing with members of the press, but some lawmakers seemed unsure of his actual commitment.
"Goddamn it, what's the deal here?" Franken heatedly asked Axelrod, the Post reported. "You're talking platitudes, and we have to go home and defend ourselves. We're getting the crap kicked out of us!"
Other reports of the meeting also indicated that it was a tense session. One Democratic senator told Politico: ""There was a lot of frustration in there." Another said: "People were hot."
According to the Post report, Axelrod stepped in to defend the president: "This thing would have been dead 15 times before now if he hadn't been persistent and committed. I don't know anybody in my memory who has expended more of his own political capital on an issue than he has on this one...Al, if you've got 218 [House] votes in your pocket, hand me the list."
But in a subsequent interview, Axelrod sought to play down the intensity of the back-and-forth between him and Franken.
"We had a very good exchange," Axelrod said in an interview with C-SPAN. "He expressed his feelings about this. I thought [I] responded very candidly to him. And it was a good airing of views."