Begala Tells Obama to 'Throw an Elbow Under the Hoop' at Scott Brown

CNN analyst Paul Begala stuck to his Democrat guns, or elbows on Tuesday night's Anderson  Cooper 360. He urged Obama to keep pushing a liberal agenda and challenge Scott Brown: "Let's see if the president can throw him an elbow under the hoop." Brown made a pledge to get along and work together, and Begala said lay him out:

BEGALA: The one thing I might counsel them, though, if I was still working there, would be, you know, you show your character in defeat sometimes a lot more than you do in victory. And this is a moment, I think, perhaps the president can show his character. Does he really believe in this stuff, or does he just sort of folds his tent and go home? Watching him in the campaign, I think there's a lot more steel in that spine than perhaps Mr. Obama's critics think.

I saw senator-elect Brown saying he wants to play basketball with the president. The first thing I thought of it, yes, good, and let's see if the president can throw him an elbow under the hoop. Barack Obama is going to have to shift into a much more tough-minded fighting mode there as a populist mode. If he wants to sort of answer this very strident [Brown] speech we saw...

CASTELLANOS: No, it's not that I would ever disagree with my friend Paul Begala on anything political, but I think he's asking the Democrats to embrace a "Thelma and Louise" strategy here.

He's asking -- the American people have just said three times, Washington is not doing what we want them to do -- in New Jersey, Virginia, and now in Massachusetts. And guess what. Some Democrats want to say, no, we don't care what the American people think. We're going to just step on the gas and go hold hands and go over the cliff together. That's a mistake.

Here’s where you know the direction of the wind is changing: David Gergen is beginning to sound more conservative. He lined up with Castellanos on what is wise going forward:

BLITZER: You know David I think you and I have had this conversation before. It's taken them so long, the Democrats and without any Republicans, to try to get some health care reform passed. The longer and longer it went on, the more difficult it would become.

DAVID GERGEN: That's right, Wolf. And I think we're probably seeing the obituary written tonight for universal access on health care. And it's been a dream of Democrats now for 70-plus years. It's just very hard to see, under these circumstances.

So I think this vote is going to be a vote heard around the world because it's going to have enormous implications. I think health care is very unlikely to pass in its current form. Cap and trade on energy environment, I think that now has -- it's extremely difficult to get that done in this Congress. Immigration reform, I think, is probably dead this year. Regulatory reform is going to be very watered down.

He could come back to jobs and the economy and perhaps get some something is done, but a lot depends on how they interrupt this at the White House. If they take Paul's view -- and I very much respect Paul on this. He says they're not fighting hard enough; they've got to be combative and go out and fight. If that's your message I think they're going to make a mistake.

CNN Anderson Cooper 360 Scott Brown David Gergen Paul Begala
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