Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) on Sunday pushed back against President George W. Bush’s former chief strategist Matthew Dowd, who now works as an analyst for ABC News, after he accused President Barack Obama of poisoning the tone in Washington, D.C. by faulting Republicans after they forced a government shutdown.
"It's really easy to cast this off on the president, but the fact is when you have now what looks to be a majority of Republicans in Congress who stop the president at any point, who want say, you know, 'We want to undo your signature health care act and shut down government over that and not pay our bills over that,' I mean that really is very extreme," Edwards explained. "And this president, in my view as a progressive Democrat, has bent over backwards to try to accommodate the Republican Party and try to construct support."
Dowd, however, argued that the "real problem" was that "we need to redefine winning differently."
"We define winning today as 'us vs. them... I'm going to score points and if I don't score points, I'm going to decide who the winner and loser is,'" Dowd said. "We just define everything as a battle, everything as a civil war. The president, I think, has tried to balance this tension, but I think he constantly falls into -- I think he wants to bring the country together and be accommodating and do all that. He ran on that just like Bush ran on that. The end result of Bush's didn't turn out well, the end result of President Obama's didn't turn out well."
He continued: "But I think President Obama lapses back into this sort of dualistic thing that, 'Okay, I wasn't able to do it, I'm going to point fingers.' And you watched his speech last week. And his speech last week was a perfect microcosm of it."
"Let's change the tone but maybe not?" ABC's Martha Raddatz asked.
"Let's change the tone but they're at fault!" Dowd agreed. "Whenever you say 'they're at fault,' you can't fix it."
"Come on," Edwards interrupted. "It is really important here, we don't want to do a rewrite here. And in order not to do a rewrite, you have to actually understand who was at fault and there was real fault here. We had a majority of Republicans and Democrats who wanted to keep the government open."