Majority Leader Eric Cantor chuckled on Thursday when he talked about Obama’s dramatic meltdown a day earlier.Obama abruptly stormed out of a meeting with Congressional leaders after Cantor told the president that Republicans would not vote for his proposed tax hikes.
Obama picked up his toys and stormed out of the meeting.
Cantor got a kick out of it.
The National Review reproted:
For months, Cantor has been a force in high-stakes talks, from the debt-reduction discussions led by Vice President Biden to the current Cabinet Room confabs hosted by President Obama. On Wednesday night, the ongoing efforts, he says, unfortunately veered into the personal when the president criticized the Virginia lawmaker for opposing tax increases.
The president “got very agitated,” Cantor told reporters Wednesday night at the Capitol. Cantor added that Obama then told him not to “call my bluff,” and said that he would take his argument to the “American people.”
Reflecting on the episode Thursday afternoon, Cantor chuckles over how dramatically the president behaved. He chalks up the heated conversation to politics more than anything. “They’re just not serious,” he says. “Even those things identified in the Biden talks have been cast aside, only touchable if we raise taxes.”
“I was willing to compromise,” Cantor contends. “I said, Mr. President, we want to do it right. I said, I agree with you, we ought not to go beyond August 2. But because the votes are not there in the House, I asked whether he was willing to come off his statement that he will veto that. That’s what led to the blowup.”
…For all the news stories about Republican sniping, Cantor says it’s the Democrats who are in disarray. “It seems, now, that the president drew an arbitrary line at $1.7 trillion; then Reid and [House Democratic leader Nancy] Pelosi drew a line and said we’re at $1.4 trillion. Anything above that, they say, they’re going to need new revenues, new tax hikes on the table.”
Cantor shakes his head at the ever-evolving numbers in the Democrats’ offerings. Despite their inconsistent message, he says that he will continue to attend the summits, doing what he can to help broker a favorable agreement. “We need a short-term solution that meets the goals the speaker has set out,” he says.
There are rumors that relations between Boehner and Cantor are tense. The majority leader swats back that charge. “We’ve had a very productive working relationship,” he says. “We meet regularly, at least three, four times a week, maybe more. I have a very open dialogue with him. Both of us are team players. We share a philosophy of governance.” Boehner, he says, walked away from a “grand bargain” with Obama “for the same reason I walked away from the Biden talks: Democrats insisted on tax increases.”