This article in The New Republic provides some insight into the debates that took place inside the White House. The top political people were trying to avoid having Obama labeled as a "class warrior" on the tax breaks for the ultra rich. They believed that this hurt Gore and others when they took that approach. The staff also used Deval Patrick's campaign as a model. He was regarded as an underdog in his campaign but he pulled off a big win. Of course, the practical problem was the lack of votes in the Senate to overcome a fillibuster.