Obama has been criticized throughout his first term for being distant and aloof, with lawmakers on both sides expressing disappointment about his lack of outreach, The Hill reported Sunday. Unlike previous presidents, Obama had not shown a fondness for inviting lawmakers to Camp David, or discussing business over rounds of golf.
"The aloofness has definitely hurt him," said one Democratic strategist whose name was not reported. He said that for Republicans, "It's so much easier to talk crap about someone if you don't know them."
"The signal I've gotten from the White House is that they realize they need to do more outreach," said Jamal Simmons, another Democratic strategist. "The administration not only needs to do good policy, they need to make sure good politics is also being done."
Some observers said they expect a more engaging Obama when dealing with lawmakers on the so-called fiscal cliff when tax rates expire and automatic spending cuts take place, which could cause a recession.