What the White House Is Saying About Obama's Infighting With Rank-and-File Democrats

Who is the leader of the Democratic Party?

“The president is the leader of the Democratic Party,” Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz affirmed to ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl during today’s press briefing.

Things got off to a bad start on Tuesday, when Democrats dealt a blow to President Obama by rejecting legislation to grant him “fast-track” authority to approve trade deals.

Senate Democrats ultimately got in line and advanced the legislation in the Senate in a delayed fashion on Thursday, but only after a group of Democrats were called to the White House for a meeting with the president following Tuesday’s vote against the measure.

But the president was again bucked by his party’s rank-and-file today, when 41 House Democrats voted to approve a $612 billion defense package that the president has signaled he would veto if it reaches his desk.

ABC News’ John Parkinson contributed to this report.