Politico

By BURGESS EVERETT | 2/2/14 11:04 PM EST

President Barack Obama is counting on Senate Democrats to help approve his legislative agenda during his final years in office. And though they are his staunchest allies on most economic issues, many Democratic senators are breaking with him on key issues in very public ways.

From trade to Iran sanctions, the Keystone XL pipeline, Obamacare, the National Security Agency and energy policy, Senate Democrats seem unusually comfortable criticizing the president, with only minimal concerns about repercussions from the

Even Obama’s steadfast ally, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, didn’t mince words last week when he rejected a bill to fast-track trade deals that is strongly backed by the White House, working against Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana, a Senate colleague who has been tapped to be the president’s ambassador to China.

Even some Republicans are noticing.

“You had two or three Democrats in the Senate who made statements after the president’s State of the Union speech that wouldn’t have been written any different if they had been written by the [National] Republican Senatorial Committee,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), referring to the Senate GOP campaign arm’s aggressive anti-Obama messaging.

Blunt was referring to discontented Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who insists that Obama misspoke during his State of the Union speech when he told Congress that he will work with lawmakers when he can — and go around them if he can’t.

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