By msnbc.com's Tom Curry
SEATTLE -- At a press conference here Wednesday, the new co-chair of the Special Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, four-term Democratic Sen. Patty Murray urged the public and news media to "give us a little time and space and not try to pigeonhole each and every one of us" into ideological categories.
"There's a lot of disagreement in this country about what exactly we need to get done. There will be a lot of people who will try to divide us" before the members have even started their work, she said. Her job, she said, was "to bridge that divide."
She said she could do her job as committee co-chair as well as all her other jobs. Most noteworthy of those: chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee -- the fundraising & candidate recruiting arm of her party. "Multitasking is something every mom knows how to do," she said in response to a reporter's question.
Echoing President Obama, she said she'd pursue "a balanced approach" which implied both changes in entitlement programs and increases in tax revenues but she didn't even hint at any specific measures she might favor.
True to her traditional concern for those depending on entitlement programs such as Medicaid and Medicare, she made a point of saying she'd keep in mind "those who have been hurt the most" in the financial crisis and recession, "working families and our seniors. They're feeling especially vulnerable today."
And as she has before she said, "everyone in this country understands we have a fiscal deficit; they also understand we have a jobs deficit."
Murray passed when asked for her assessment of the Republican members of the committee.