Obama Leaves Debt Meeting Peeved

Cantor's behavior causes the president to announce "enough is enough"

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Reports are coming out of Wednesday's debt limit negotiations and things aren't looking good. Tuesday's meeting included a snippy exchange between President Obama and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the latter of whom appears to be jockeying for position with House Speaker John Boehner. Wednesday's meeting doesn't look much better. After the meeting broke up on Wednesday evening, Cantor had a surprise press conference and told reporters that it had "ended with president abruptly walking out of the meeting," the New York Post is reporting.

Cantor apparently asked the president three times to consider "splitting up the vote to raise the federal borrowing limit into two separate votes" over the course of Wednesday's meeting, which caused him to become agitated, says Washington Post's Felicia Sonmez. Cantor was interrupting the president the third time he proposed the idea, as Obama was trying to end the meeting, and so Obama grew frustrated. If Cantor is to be believed--and other than high-stakes partisan brinksmanship, why wouldn't he be?--the president ripped into him after his childish behavior.

“I asked the president, would that be something that he would consider,” Cantor told reporters. “Well, that’s when he got very agitated, seemingly, and said that he had sat here long enough and that no other president — Ronald Reagan wouldn’t sit here like this, and he’s reached the point where something’s got to give.”

“So he said, ‘You’ve either got to compromise on your dollar-for-dollar insistence, or you’ve got to compromise on the big deal,’ which means on raising taxes,” Cantor continued. “And he said to me, ‘Eric, don’t call my bluff.’ He said, ‘I’m going to the American people on this.’ Again, I was somewhat taken aback, because look, I was compromising.”

The president then concluded the meeting and announced plans to resume talks tomorrow evening. How Cantor plans to make this look good on him, no one knows. The president has steadfastly refused to make a short term deal, and raising the issue three times in a meeting comes across as immature at a time when the realities of the situation should be forcing productivity out of the meetings. Instead, Cantor told reporters, "we are very far apart right now. The progress we made seems to have been erased now."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.