Most important was showing the country that he could make Washington work. "Like any worthwhile agreement, both sides had to make tough decisions and give ground on issues that were important to them," he said.
At the same time, knowing that the public also favors reduced spending, Obama pointed to the size of the cuts in the new agreement while noting that his priorities had been preserved. The budget, he said, would "invest in our future."
Balz also notes that "the battle was fought on turf far more hospitable to Republicans, given the country's concerns about spending that contributed to the Democrats losing the House in November."
This was the conventional wisdom about the 2010 election, but it has very little to support it. Most public opinion polling shows far more concern about job creation than the deficit or national debt. As Jim Naureckas noted here, budget cuts will cost jobs, not create them. But in the minds of reporters like Balz, the public has lined up to back drastic spending cuts–and the media don't seem interested in talking much about the likely effects of such cuts.