Centrist Sen. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) on Wednesday asked arguably the most contentious question during a discussion between Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama, hitting at conservatives and liberals.
Lincoln, who faces a tough reelection fight, asked Obama to push back against "people at the extremes" of both parties, especially against Democrats "who want extremes."
She also took a swipe at Obama's White House, referencing a constituent who "fears that there's no one in your administration that understands what it means to go to work on Monday and make a payroll on Friday."
Lincoln faces a steep reelection bid in 2010. She trails the likely Republican nominee, Rep. John Boozman, by 23 points and has only a 27 percent approval rating in a recent poll.
Obama responded by defending steps his administration has taken to right the economy and said "Moving forward, Blanche, what you're going to hear from some folks...[is that] the only way to provide stability is to go back and do what we did before the crisis."
The president reiterated that he would not return to past policies.
"If the price of certainty is for us to adopt the exact same proposals that were in place for eight years leading up to the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression...the result is going to be the same."
But Obama conceded that "Blanche is right that we sometimes get bogged down in ideology."