Barack Obama and John McCain: The Bad Blood Remains

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On CNN’s Situation Room Monday afternoon, White House aide David Axelrod was asked about Sen. John McCain’s prediction that Democrats will face “a very heavy price to pay” for passing health care reform. Axelrod responded with a rhetorical dagger.

Well, look, I — I respect Senator McCain, and I remember when he was a strong independent voice in the United States Senate.  Last year, he had the most partisan voting record in the United States Senate.  He’s got a challenge from the right wing of his own party right now.  I understand that, too. But when he said today that we’re not going to get anymore cooperation from the Republican party this year in the United States Senate because they’re unhappy about this health insurance reform, I think that’s unfortunate.  That’s better for the sandlot than it is for governance.  We need to work together to solve problems.

McCain’s spokeswoman, Brooke Buchanan, immediately responded with a statement attacking President Obama.

Senator John McCain will always stand on the side of the American people. Get used to it, Mr. Axelrod, that’s what strong, independent members do – you’d know that if you had ever worked for one.

It’s not every day that a senator calls the president weak, or that a senior aide to the president effectively calls a senator a sellout.

UPDATE: McCain may not be on the side of the American people on this one. According to Gallup, reaction to the passage of the health care reform bill is favorable, by a slight margin. 49 percent think it is a good thing. 40 percent think it is a bad thing.