For White House officials, [the realization of high stakes] crystallized during meetings like the one that Obama, humbled and remorseful, hosted in November  with a dozen Democratic senators. . . .
The senators, all facing reelection in 2014, were furious because they had seen their approval numbers nose dive almost overnight, largely because the most tech-savvy administration in history couldn’t develop a health care website that worked. . . .
According to several participants, Begich and his colleagues demanded to know how committed Obama was to fighting for the Senate majority. Obama was known as a fierce competitor when his name was on the ballot, not so much when it was not.
“I don’t really care to be president without the Senate," Obama said, according to attendees . . . .