Obama and Boehner: A History of Hate, in Awkward Photos

The two most powerful men in Washington failed to come up with a deal to stop the sequester in their White House meeting on Friday, and they said as much. But you don't need words to understand the deterioration of their relationship — you can see it in their faces.

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President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner failed to come up with a deal to stop the sequester in their White House meeting on Friday, just hours before the cuts kick in. "This discussion about revenue, in my view, is over," Boehner said, reiterating House Republicans' demand for a sequester replacer that does not include tax revenue. Obama, in a separate press conference, said new tax revenue was necessary. "I don't think that's too much to add. I don't think that's too partisan," he said. Even most Republican voters favor including tax revenue, the president continued, looking frustrated (see right). "We just need Republicans in Congress to catch up with Republicans in the country on this." This was expected. Since the fiscal cliff, Boehner has publicly said he will no longer negotiate with Obama. Two years of fighting over spending and the deficit have corroded the relationship between the two men, and "hardball politics have bred a share of hard feelings," Politico reports. "He's a nice guy," an Obama aide said of Boehner, but he can't deliver. Boehner's side says Obama is condescending. But you don't need words to understand the deterioration of their relationship. You can see it in their faces. The two have more and more openly expressed contempt for each other with their eyes and mouths, in public, and often. Like so:

April 7, 2011: Obama leaves a budget meeting with Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. It did not go well. Can you tell?

July 6, 2011: Obama's Twitter Town Hall. It's so awkward when couples have passive-aggressive fights on social media.

July 18, 2011: Obama and Boehner's debt ceiling golf summit. They got all dressed up like dorks to show everyone that their relationship was still going strong, producing this reluctant — maybe condescending — show of affection for the cameras.

July 23, 2011: Another ultimately unproductive meeting about the debt.

Obama knows the relationship isn't working.

September 8, 2011: Obama shakes Boehner's hand before an address to a joint session of Congress about his doomed jobs plan.

Both mouths clench as the men struggle to control their facial expressions.

Boehner watches Obama speak, unimpressed, maybe bored.

After this, photo-ops ceased for a little while.

January 24, 2012: No love at the State of the Union.

March 20, 2012: A St. Patrick's Day luncheon. As usual, Boehner is slightly behind Obama.

Just like at the luncheon:

November 16, 2012: A reconciliation, of sorts, during a meeting about the economy.

January 21: The Inauguration ceremony. Boehner is trying to be happy for Obama.


Then there was the Inauguration lunch. Michelle Obama rolled her eyes at Boehner's joke.

Then Obama signed a proclamation after being sworn in.

February 12: The State of the Union. Oh, you again.


February 27: A meeting with congressional leaders in the White House.

(Photo by the White Houe via Flickr.)

February 27: They're not even trying to hide their contempt for each other anymore. Obama sends his furious laser beam eyes in Boehner's direction at the dedication of the Rosa Parks statue in the Capitol.

It's scarier in closeup:

This is the exact body language a couple uses when they break up in a car.

Another moment from the Rosa Parks ceremony. This photo is ridiculous.

March 1: Boehner tells the press that Republicans' position on revenue hasn't changed. The sequester is over. He finishes the press conference, and then, curiously, walks back into the White House.

(All photos via Associated Press unless otherwise noted.)

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