From a Michele Bachmann rally. (by Fibonacci Blue)

Or, put another way, “Mugging victim apologies to thugs for not carrying enough money.”

Continuing the conciliatory tone he has taken since Election Day, Obama told the lawmakers that he needed to do more to reduce the partisan tone in Washington, press secretary Robert Gibbs said later. The president said he plans to hold additional talks in Washington and at Camp David with lawmakers of both parties.

“The president acknowledged he needed to do better,” Gibbs said.

Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.), the No. 2 House Republican, said later: “I was encouraged by the president’s remarks regarding his perhaps not having reached out enough to us in the last session, and that this meeting was the beginning of a series in which he hoped that we could work together in a different fashion for the benefit of the American people, given the problems that we face. “

Naturally, the Republicans took no responsibility at all for “the tone in Washington.” I guess they think that being hell-bent on taking down Obama from Day One is to “the benefit of the American people.”

As a quick recap, before he was even inaugurated, Republican members of Congress were calling President Obama a Marxist Hitler on the House floor. (Had that ever happened before?) Then there was Jim DeMint, who compared Obama to Napoleon and Hitler in the same month. Let’s not forget Michele Bachmann’s warning that Obama was going to brainwash our children in Marxist gulags to go with her constant hectoring about “socialism.”

Then came the Birther Caucus — that group of 17 Republican lawmakers who questioned Obama’s citizenship and even introduced legislation which suggested the President isn’t quite American. And when Obama planned to address the nation’s school children on their first day of class, Republicans rioted.

We can’t leave out Republican Joe Wilson’s shouting “You lie!” during the State of the Union — which was also without precedent, not to mention the House Republicans cheering their en masse vote against the stimulus, the “death panels,” and “pulling the plug on grandma.” Can’t leave out Lamar Smith (R-TX) suggesting Obama should be impeached for not protecting the border. And who can forget Republican members of Congress proudly speaking at event under a banner that compared the law to the holocaust — all while Republican officials nationwide almost weekly compared Obama to Hitler.

And most of this stuff happened in the first 8-9 months of Obama’s presidency.

Now, it’s pretty clear who’s most responsible for “the tone in Washington” since November 2008, and it’s not Obama.

So why is he apologizing for it?

And what is the lesson the Republicans have learned from spewing all of this political bile? That it works.