Obama and Cantor Got Snippy at the White House Yesterday

An exchange from yesterday's debt limit negotiations does not bode well for a deal

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So, how are the daily White House talks between President Obama and Congressional Republicans going? An anecdote buried in Lori Montgomery Washington Post's report does not bode well. The usually cool and collected Obama showed his frustration with negotiations to raise the federal debt ceiling Tuesday when he zinged House Majority Leader Eric Cantor for trying to usurp his boss, Speaker John Boehner, in the talks. The relationship between Boehner and Cantor--who reportedly wants Boehner's job--has been the subject of much gossip the past few weeks, and clearly Obama has been paying attention.

Montgomery reports that in a two-hour meeting between Obama, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and the Republican leaders, the president pushed for a deal to cut $4 trillion from the deficit--a plan Boehner backed out of Saturday in favor of Cantor's preferred $2 trillion package. Boehner stayed mostly silent yesterday, Montgomery reports, while Cantor demanded Obama offer more details of what he's called the "grand bargain" he was negotiating privately with Boehner. Then this happened:

"Where's your paper?" [Cantor] asked angrily.

Obama snapped back: "Frankly, your speaker has it.  Am I dealing with him, or am I dealing with you?"

Boehner's spokesman says he has no such paper. But that seems sort of beside the point.

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