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CBS News Political Hotsheet - Liberal Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio Says Obama Lacks Will to Fight

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By Corbett B. Daly

A liberal lawmaker from Oregon lashed out at President Obama on Wednesday, saying he is doing "not so good" and may lose re-election in part because he lacks the will to fight.

Rep. Peter DeFazio said Mr. Obama's unwillingness to go toe-to-toe with Republicans over campaign promises to allow tax cuts for the wealthy to expire shows he is not tough.

"Fight? I don't think it's a word in his vocabulary, I mean, come on," DeFazio said in an interview with Portland television station KGW.

"The Republicans telegraphed to him they were going to use a fake crisis over the debt limit in order to muscle some major spending reductions or other things on to him. And that was in December. So then what happens? Suddenly he flip flops and concedes everything to the Republicans," DeFazio said, "he doesn't seem to have an ounce of fight in him."

DeFazio suggested Mr. Obama may not even carry Oregon next year and could have a very tough time getting re-elected if the Republican nominee is middle-of-the-road.

"At this point it pretty much depends upon how far out there the Republican nominee is. You know with a respectable, someone who would tend a little more toward the middle of the road Republican nominee, he's going to have a very tough time getting re-elected," DeFazio said in response to a question about the president's chances next year.

"I believe Oregon is very much in play. I mean we are one of the harder hit states in the union, particularly my part of the state. I've just done six town hall meetings, got seven to go, and people are shaking their head and saying 'I don't know if I can vote for him again,'" said DeFazio. Mr. Obama took 57 percent of the vote in Oregon in 2008, while Arizona Sen. John McCain garnered just 41 percent of the vote.

The founding member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus shrugged when asked if he was surprised, KGW reported.

"Not at all. One guy asked me ... give me 25 words what he's about and what he's done for me," DeFazio recounted, "I said it could have been worse."


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