Dem leader: Obama’s approach to GOP ‘frustrating to Democrats? You betcha’

The chairman of the House Democratic Caucus said Wednesday that some members are frustrated President Obama continues to reach out to Republicans.

The president pointed to several past instances of bipartisan cooperation during his remarks about the budget on Wednesday.

"Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill came together to save Social Security for future generations. The first President Bush and a Democratic Congress came together to reduce the deficit. President Clinton and a Republican Congress battled each other ferociously and still found a way to balance the budget," Obama said in his speech at The George Washington University. 

Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) said Obama's speech created a contrast between the Democratic and GOP approaches to balancing the budget. But, he added, "in our caucus, we want to get more offensive."

"Let's be honest, it's annoying to people, especially when you're a Democrat, about this constant reaching out to the other side, but at the end of the day, what he's saying is that ... it's gotta be done," Larson told reporters off the House floor Wednesday afternoon.

Obama has asked Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to tap four members from their caucuses to participate in negotiations to reduce the deficit that he said would be led by Vice President Joe Biden. The negotiations will begin in early May, the White House said, with the goal of wrapping up by the end of June.

Larson said some in the caucus are troubled by that approach.

Obama "continues to believe that this is attainable by us sitting down and reasoning together," the Connecticut Democrat said. "And he's bound and determined to see that happen, I think that's how he's defined, in part, his leadership and his presidency.

"Now, is that frustrating to Democrats? You betcha," he said. "But it's part of the process that we're dealing with here."

--Sam Youngman and Erik Wasson contributed to this report.