Smiles at the start: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is at the far left. President Obama is at center left. They and other lawmakers were all smiles before the doors closed Wednesday.
Smiles at the start: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is at the far left. President Obama is at center left. They and other lawmakers were all smiles before the doors closed Wednesday. Charles Dharapak/AP
Stories are popping up across the news universe about President Obama and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) having a heated/tense/barbed (choose your favorite word) exchange during Wednesday's budget talks at the White House — an exchange that ended with the president leaving the room.
The Associated Press says it's been told by "several officials familiar with the session" that the climax came when Obama said "enough is enough. ... I'll see you all tomorrow," and departed.
On his Political Punch blog, ABC News' Jake Tapper says "it was, sources from both parties say, the most tense of the deficit reduction meetings yet." According to Tapper's sources, because Republicans and Democrats are still far apart, Cantor "suggested a possible short-term extension [of the so-called debt ceiling] in order to avoid default, with another vote next year."
The president, Tapper reports, repeated what he said in public on Monday — he won't sign off on a short-term extension. And Tapper's sources say Obama cautioned Cantor, saying: "Don't call my bluff."
Politico says that much of the word about what happened is coming from Cantor, and that while "Democratic sources dispute Cantor's version of Obama's walk out ... all sides agree that the two had a blow up. The sources described Obama as 'impassioned' but said he didn't exactly storm out of the room."
The Washington Post says the discussions "ended on an angry note," but points out that Obama did add "I'll see you tomorrow."
And that's an important point to keep in mind: negotiations will resume later today. Also: No matter what happened when the leaders sat down, it's safe to assume that their aides have been continuing to talk.
For more on the talks, check Morning Edition's report on the "Hell, No Caucus."