Bob Woodward's new book, The Price of Politics, is one of the first history books about last summer's debt crisis and how close the world came to being sent into financial chaos. One person has to to come out looking worse for wear, and it seems to be Eric Cantor.
He quickly became the center of attention during the debt talks last summer when he repeatedly pissed off the President. Boehner was in charge of the Republican's side of the table, but Cantor was oh so desperate to be number one. It showed.
Now, we have not read the book. But judging from the Daily Beast's preview of the "juiciest bits," it's Cantor who is going to be the one looking the worst on the other side.
He Fell for Joe Biden's Mind Games
During the debt negotiations, Joe Biden was tasked with befriending the enemy to draw out new information. Cantor fell for it because they could bond over being the overlooked guys at the table:
Woodward reports of an exchange between the two politicians, acknowledging that reality: “You know if I were doing this, I’d do it totally different,” Biden told Cantor. Cantor in turn confided that he would do things differently if he were running the Republican conference. They both agreed that if they were in charge, they could come to a deal.
What a fun friendship! It's like Robin befriending Barney Rubble, or something.
He Threw a Tantrum After He Didn't Get Invited to the Private Golf Games
After June didn't bring any kind of deal, Boehner started meeting with President Obama privately to discuss the debt deal without any other voices at the table. Or, without Eric Cantor there. The private games together started in July. The public ones were well under way in June:
Obama surmised that private meetings would speed up the process. They didn’t tell Jack Lew, the White House chief of staff, or Cantor of their plans to meet. Cantor later was furious when he found out he had not been involved or at least notified.
He Was Constantly Pissing Off His Boss
Cantor was a pain in Boehner's side all summer, obviously. This is the same man who frustrated the President so much he had to leave a meeting early he was so mad. That he made Boehner so mad all summer isn't exactly new news. But apparently their relationship was so tense it became popular hallway gossip at the White House, according to Woodward.
Rob Nabors, director of legislative staff at the White House, joked that “he felt awkward being in the same room with the two of them.”
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.