From the NY Times:
WASHINGTON — For all the questions circulating in Democratic quarters as President Obama tries to weather the worst storm of his administration, perhaps none is as succinct as this: Are the missteps at the White House rooted in message or substance?
The Republican victory in Massachusetts last week touched off a domino effect of political setbacks for Democrats — most notably the fate of the health care agenda — that has prompted deep introspection in the Oval Office and across the administration.
When Mr. Obama presents his first State of the Union address on Wednesday evening, aides said he would accept responsibility, though not necessarily blame, for failing to deliver swiftly on some of the changes he promised a year ago. But he will not, aides said, accede to criticism that his priorities are out of step with the nation’s.
As Mr. Obama navigates a crossroads of his presidency, a moment when he signals what lessons he has drawn from his first year in office, the public posture of the White House is that any shortcomings are the result of failing to explain effectively what they were doing — and why. He will acknowledge making mistakes in pursuit of his agenda, aides said, but will not toss the agenda overboard in search of a more popular one.