Neera Tanden: Democrats Need to Avoid 'Circular Firing Squad'

ABC News' Rick Klein reports: With the White House feuding with liberals , a former Obama administration aide told us on ABC/Washington Post's 'Top Line' today the types of achievements the president has achieved "were dreams in our eyes" during the Clinton years, and said the White House needs to "fire up the left" instead of encouraging fight inside the Democratic ranks.

"I think that the tough issue here is that this president has actually been very successful legislatively," Neera Tanden , a Clinton administration veteran who worked in President Obama's Office of Health Reform, told us.

"I mean, if you compare this president to past presidents -- I was very proud to be in the Clinton administration -- we unfortunately had a Republican Congress for most of the time -- these kinds of changes were dreams in our eyes. To have comprehensive health care reform, to have financial regulatory reform -- masses of legislation that would take years to get done have gotten done in very short period of time."

Asked why liberals aren't buying that argument, Tanden, the chief operating officer of the Center for American Progress, said:

"I think one of the challenges is that there was a lot of change promised and Washington is difficult to change. You have a president and a movement that was created, that came to Washington, and Washington in itself has been a hurdle. And it's important for liberals to understand that there are big choices in this election and we need to keep fighting and keep pushing for change, and not create the circular firing squad of firing against each other. And it's important for the White House to understand part of its role is actually to fire up the left and give them an argument and make the argument about Republicans, not make the argument about fighting ourselves."

We also asked Tanden about former DNC Chairman Howard Dean's prediction that the individual mandate in Obama's health care reform law would be repealed before it goes into effect in 2014.

"I think Howard Dean is totally wrong," Tanden said. "I think Howard Dean and I have often disagreed, but the idea that health care reform will survive without an individual mandate, the first thing that will happen is that prices will go up. So the idea that we're all going to support health reform, when prices go up dramatically because we don't have a mandate is wrong and wrong-headed, and it's the wrong strategy and even the president, who as we all recall, did not strongly support an individual mandate, came around and supported it because he recognized that it's a critical element to this legislation going forward."

Watch the full discussion with Neera Tanden HERE .

For our "Post Politics" segment, we checked in with Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post about Rep. Charles Rangel's birthday bash, plus a new poll that one Democratic pollster suggested means we're in for a "JetBlue election" – with voters creating their own exits, when necessary.

Watch the segment with Karen Tumulty HERE .

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