POLITICS
12/08/2010 08:21 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Dem Rep. Joe Crowley: 'Premature' To Call For Obama Primary Challenge (VIDEO)

Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday downplayed the significance that Obama's recent deal on the extension of Bush tax cuts would have on his party's support for his reelection in 2012, despite news that some Democratic stalwarts are strongly opposed to the plan.

Asked on CNBC's "Squawk Box" if the latest actions from the White House would trigger some sort of exodus of Democratic lawmakers away from Obama and perhaps toward a primary challenger, Crowley said he wasn't yet ready to answer that question.

"I think that's premature," Crowley replied. "I think that right now the president is our candidate and we have a good ways to go. I think the president will rebound, quite frankly."

On Tuesday, key Democrats, including former deputy national director of Obama's presidential campaign and former presidential candidate Howard Dean, painted the bargain as a "mistake" that would serve to thwart the administration's claims that they were taking an honest approach to tackling to deficit. Furthermore, they said, it made Obama look weak and rewarding of "Republicans who won't negotiate in good faith."

Former "CBS Evening News" anchor Dan Rather predicted Monday that grumblings such as these over Obama's failure to dig in his heals on this issue would lead to a "serious challenge in a Democratic primary for president in 2012."

Crowley, however, seemed to acknowledge that Obama's hands were at least partially tied by Senate procedure in the matter, even though he expressed his apparent personal dissatisfaction over Obama's decision to eventually agree to extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans.

"This really is all about the Senate and their need to have a 60-vote passage of any legislation of any consequence," Crowley said, before suggesting that Democrats may have preferred to have forced Republicans to actually block the legislation. "I think many of us would prefer to see a filibuster, at least to clearly define what the issues are and what's at stake."

On Monday, a group of Senate Democrats renewed calls for filibuster reform in the face of what they characterized as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's hostage-taking of initiatives such as the reauthorization of unemployment benefits, the DREAM Act and the START Treaty.

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