Evolution of the Deal: The White House Account

By MichaelJames

Apr 9, 2011 1:02am

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports:

President Obama called Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Friday evening at 11:22 p.m. and House Speaker John Boehner at 11:25 p.m. and “thanked them for their hard work.”

Around 10:30 p.m., the president was informed that the deal was made by Chief of Staff Bill Daley. Daley was informed by Legislative Affairs Director Rob Nabors, who was on the Hill with Reid’s staff when the deal was officially made. Reid, D-Nev., called Vice President Joe Biden directly to inform him of the deal.

Over the course of the day, President Obama spoke with Boehner, R-Ohio, four times, and Reid “multiple times.”

White House officials argued that Friday was a “very good night for the country,” adding that the symbolism and the economic impact of a shutdown would have been concerning for the country.

"In many respects, the composition was more important than the number,” a senior administration official briefing reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House said of the administration’s strategy throughout the negotiations.

They cast the cuts as those that would be hard, but acceptable – after the hard negotiations of the this week.

At one of the first meetings this week, President Obama said to the group, "We need to give it one last shot.”

Smiling, a senior administration official said, “We gave it one last shot several times this week.”

White House officials described Thursday night’s meeting between President Obama, Reid and Boehner as a “key moment” when Boehner agreed on a target number for cuts.

Somehow, overnight and into Friday morning during negotiations at the staff level – as our reporting has reflected – that message got muddled and counter-offers were coming back more detrimental to the White House.

This morning, President Obama appealed directly to Speaker Boehner and said, “I’m president, you’re the speaker … love our staffs but this is about us. … What we talked about last night has to be reflected in the negotiations."

When asked what they believe was given up for Boehner to cede ground on the family planning rider, a senior administration official said nothing.

"I wouldn’t say that we gave anything up,” the official said, casting it as a decision that Boehner just had to make. "They had to give in or shut down the government over it. They chose to not shut down the government over it."

The president on Saturday will receive and sign the continuing resolution funding the government until the full agreement is approved. 

–Sunlen Miller

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