President Obama Changes Tone Ahead of State of the Union Address

However, GOP Leader Mitch McConnell calls for a change of course.

ByABC News
January 24, 2010, 10:17 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2010— -- On the eve of President Obama's State of the Union address and the end of his first year in office, Republican Scott Brown's astonishing win in the Massachusetts special Senate race not only reset politics in that state, but reset politics for the entire nation.

"The entire political community was caught a little bit unawares on that one," White House senior adviser David Axelrod said today on ABC's "This Week" of Brown's win.

After Brown's upset win ended the 60-seat majority in the Senate that Democrats needed in order to push through health care reform without a Republican vote, the White House is adjusting its political operation by bringing in Obama's 2008 presidential campaign manager David Plouffe. The move comes ahead of mid-term elections in the House and Senate this November, where Republicans hope to capitalize on the momentum of Brown's win and pick up more seats, which could further endanger the president's agenda.

White House advisers played down Plouffe's hire, denying an association with Brown's win.

"David Plouffe has been a regular adviser to the president throughout the year," White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"We have a very strong political operation. What it's a reflection of is that David was working on his book for the last year. He's done with that now. He's enormously talented, as everyone knows, and he brings value added to our operation as we look forward, in terms of strategy and tactics, and he'll be consulting with us on that, and we'll be stronger for it," Axelrod said.

Also back were themes from Obama's presidential campaign.

"This president's never going to stop fighting to create jobs, to raise incomes, and to push back on the special interests' dominance in Washington and this withering partisanship that keeps us from solving problems," Axelrod said.

Axelrod said those same themes propelled Brown to victory.

"This is the Obama who ran for president," he said. "And the themes that he talked about in that campaign were very much echoed by Senator Brown in his campaign, which tells you that the hunger for that kind of leadership is still very strong."