As political opera goes, the libretto seemed to be the vengeance of the vanquished.
With President Obama at the Capitol on Sunday for a meeting with the Democratic caucus, his nemesis from last year's presidential race, Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, stood in a corridor just a few steps away facing a gaggle of reporters and television cameras.
It was less aria than huff-and-puff. He and Mr. McConnell suggested that the fact that Mr. Obama was meeting alone with Democrats was evidence that hyper-partisanship continues in Washington and that the president had been powerless to stop it.
(Of course, Mr. McConnell, Mr. McCain and their Republican colleagues do their own part to contribute to the continuing acrimony, but that went unspoken.)
As if he really expected Republicans to issue a mea culpa at a partisan press conference.
Herszenhorn juxtaposed two unrelated events to set the "cranky" McCain up as a hypocritical bad guy:
Mr. McCain added: "We are always glad to see the president back where he once worked and we stand ready to sit down and meet with the president if he has time as well. And we'd like to have the C-Span cameras in when we do so."
Back in January, Mr. Obama met separately with both the House Republican and Senate Republican caucuses to ask for their support on the economic stimulus plan. Not a single House Republican voted in favor of it. Three Senate Republicans did: Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Mr. Specter has since become a Democrat.