After the trials and triumphs of his tumultuous first weeks, President Obama appears increasingly focused on ends, not means. In a conversation early Friday evening with a small group of columnists, Obama was flexible about tactics and unwavering in his goals. He signaled that he's open to consultation, compromise and readjusting his course to build inclusive coalitions, but fixed on the results he intends to produce. "My bottom line is not how pretty the process was," he said, looking back at the congressional fight over his economic recovery package. "My bottom line was: Am I getting help to people who need it?"