The Note: Duel Without End? Obama, Boehner Offer No Clear Path To Resolution

Jul 26, 2011 9:01am

By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone) and AMY WALTER (@amyewalter)

The war of words between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner escalated yet again last night as both leaders accused the other of stifling progress on the debt ceiling negotiations.

Americans, President Obama said in a primetime address to the nation, are “fed up with a town where compromise has become a dirty word,” adding that Americans “may have voted for divided government, but they didn’t vote for a dysfunctional government.”

In his response, Speaker Boehner assured his supporters, “I gave it my all” but said the president “would not take yes for an answer.”

His response last night was short on diplomacy and not terribly interested in compromise. Boehner will be working today to round up support for the debt plan he introduced yesterday. 

There are no formal talks scheduled between the two sides at the White House today. So, what does the president see as the way forward? A plan outlined by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., would cut spending by $1 trillion, but doesn't touch entitlement spending or taxes. It's also faces long odds of passage in the Senate.

The latest wrinkle is whether or not Aug. 2 is actually the drop dead date for default. Many Republicans have been arguing this point for weeks and Barclay's just gave them some more ammo.

Ajay Rajadhyaksha, an analyst at Barclays Capital Research told Bloomberg News that “the debt limit may not have to be raised next week, in part because tax revenue is coming in higher than forecast. ‘Having borrowing authority is like having a credit card,’ Rajadhyaksha said in an e-mail yesterday. While the Treasury ‘will no longer be able to use its credit card’ after Aug. 2, ‘it should still be able to pay its bills on Aug. 3, which is ultimately what matters most.’”

(ABC’s Jake Tapper takes a closer look at what “drop dead” actually means:

Meanwhile, new polling from ABC News and the Washington Post emphasizes the bigger problem for President Obama: “More than a third of Americans now believe that President Obama's policies are hurting the economy and confidence in his ability to create jobs is sharply eroding among his base,” write Jon Cohen and Ylan Mui in the Post.

Add on top of this, the fact that “a near-record number of Americans call jobs difficult to find in their area,” and “ratings of the national economy have remained consistently dreadful for more than three years,” writes ABC pollster Julie E. Phelan.

The fact that a majority of Americans still blame Bush for the state of the economy and disapprove of Republicans handling of job creation should be cold comfort for the folks at the Obama re-election headquarters.

Obama isn't running against Speaker Boehner for president or George W Bush. He didn't create the crisis. But voters don't really care that much about pointing the finger of blame. They just want to have confidence that the person in charge can fix it.

WORD FROM THE WHITE HOUSE. The White House believes there are enough votes in the House to pass the Senate Democratic budget package, if only Speaker Boehner would put it on the floor, ABC’s Steven Portnoy reports. Communications director Dan Pfeiffer told Portnoy in a radio interview this morning that it’s “actually very easy” to get 217 votes for the Reid proposal in the House with bipartisan support. “There are dozens upon dozens of Democrats who would work with the speaker to get something done, if he was willing to do that,” Pfeiffer said. “Speaker Boehner has to be the one to lead and be willing to get as many members of his caucus as he can who are willing to do the right thing for the country and the right thing for the economy and work with the Democrats to do that.  if he is unwilling to do that, then we are heading towards a default.”

THE CONSERVATIVE LINE. The Washington Examiner’s chief political correspondent Byron York opines that “a number of conservative lawmakers in both House and Senate are deeply troubled by what might happen if the new debt plan proposed by House Speaker John Boehner wins the day. Boehner has spoken repeatedly about ‘trillions, not billions’ in federal spending cuts. There has been talk of $2 trillion, $3 trillion, maybe even more in cuts. But conservative lawmakers ask: Will the cuts be real? … ‘The members have said that the reason we should fight for Cut, Cap and Balance is that our leaders will pass a bad deal with phony spending cuts and the possibility of tax hikes,’ says a GOP aide. Add to that a newly appointed commission to decide on future deficit reduction and you have the classic Washington nonsolution to the problem.”

Watch ABC’s Jake Tapper and Jonathan Karl’s “Good Morning America” report on the latest development in the debt ceiling negotiations:



ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE”:  A House and Senate double-header. ABC’s Rick Klein and Amy Walter hear from Republican Congressman Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina. A Tea Party representative, Mulvaney is also on the House Budget Committee and the Committee on Small Business. Also on the program, Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana. The Indiana Republican has been forceful in his opposition to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s debt proposal. Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.

“TOP LINE” REPLAY: REP. KAREN BASS. In an interview with ABC News’ Top Line, freshman Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., said she thought that the debt proposal by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that asks for spending cuts, but no new revenues, is “going to be very, very hard for Democrats in the House,” to support. “The bottom line for us, “Bass said, “is a balanced approach. If you’re going to have cuts, you’re going to have to find some ways to raise revenues.”  



CHRIS CHRISTIE MUM ON POTENTIAL 2012 ENDORSEMENT. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spent the day in Iowa yesterday, speaking at an education summit organized by fellow Gov. Terry Branstad and appearing at a fundraiser for Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. He also weighed in on the 2012 presidential field, according to the Des Moines Register’s Jennifer Jacobs: “A guy Iowa conservatives hoped would run for president because they weren’t entirely enamored with the existing choices said today he’s not feeling enthusiastic about any of the candidates either – at least not enough to endorse one. ‘I’m not a halfway kind of kind guy, so if I’m going to get in and support someone I’m going to do it 100 percent,’ New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told reporters this evening in Des Moines. ‘And to get there, I have to feel that way about one of the people offering themselves for president. If that moment comes, I certainly won’t keep it a secret.’ Asked if Iowans can read that statement as a sign he’s not feeling that special feeling for any of the current declared candidates, Christie answered: ‘Yeah, I think that’s fair to say that, sure. ‘I mean if I felt it right now, I would endorse somebody. I don’t.’”

RICK PERRY WATCH: A LONG AND WINDING ROAD. “Texas Gov. Rick Perry has the potential to shake up the Republican presidential contest and would enter the race as a probable national frontrunner. But just two years ago, Perry couldn't even count on the Lone Star State to grant him another term as governor,” Roll Call’s David Drucker reports. “There was a widely held prediction that he would retire instead of seek a third term in 2010 because Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison could handily beat him in the GOP primary. Perry possesses a keen political acumen that has seen him through several tough races during his 26-year career. He is attractive, well-liked, has a talent for retail politicking and is knowledgeable on policy matters. But Perry spent his first few years as governor in the shadow of his popular predecessor, then-newly elected President George W. Bush. After he took office in late 2000, Perry had a reputation as a politically motivated, uninspiring leader. ‘He was not disliked,’ said Royal Masset, a retired Texas GOP political operative who lives in Austin. ‘But he was not perceived as a strong leader. He was seen as a figurehead, as most Texas governors have been.’”

BACHMANN WALKS OUT. "Michele Bachmann made a visit to the Quad Cities last night to speak with supporters and give interviews to the local television media, that is, with one exception. Despite promises to WQAD for a one-on-one interview the Congresswoman's managers openly, and aggressively denied News 8 access to the Iowa Republican front-runner," report WQAD's Rae Chelle Davis, Mark Angotti, and Chuck McClurg. "At the end of last night's event the Bachmann campaign said the snubbing was based on interview questions News 8's Rae Chelle Davis asked the Congresswoman during a satellite interview two weeks ago. Undercover cameras had captured a counselor at the clinic owned by Michele Bachmann and her husband, Marcus, conducting reparative therapy. Reparative therapy is the attempt to change a person from gay to straight or from one sexual orientation to another. Voters wanted to know if the story was true and to hear what Michele Bachmann had to say about it. Due to a pre-planned satellite interview, we were in the unique position to ask her about the controversy first.During the satellite interview, behind the scenes, it got ugly. In the News 8 control room, campaign staffers threatened WQAD producers that they would cut off the feed if Rae Chelle repeated the question.”

PRIMARY CALENDAR REMAINS IN FLUX. Even as the Republican presidential contenders zigzag through Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, an uncertain and potentially unwieldy primary schedule in subsequent states is alarming party leaders, who fear that the voting could start earlier, last longer and complicate efforts to confront President Obama next year,” The New York Times’ Jeff Zeleny reports. “The 2012 presidential race is the first to fall under new rules from the Republican National Committee, which had intended the contests to start in February, a month later than in 2008. But at least a half dozen states are threatening to defy the rules and move up their primaries. The result is that the first ballots are once again likely to be cast in January as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina move up the dates of their contests to protect their franchises as the early voting states. At the same time, the rush toward the front of the calendar by Florida, Michigan, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia and Missouri is accompanied by another trend: several states are pushing back their presidential primaries — or canceling them entirely — because of tight state budgets. The outcome is a sharply scaled-back set of contests in the weeks after the initial flurry — with Super Tuesday in particular diminished in importance — followed by a stretch of primaries lasting until summer. … The unsettled calendar has created anxiety and opportunity for Republican candidates.”

VOICES: STEVE FORBES ON CALIFORNIA. “A big tax battle is erupting in California. The immediate numbers involved are not big—about $200 million—but the principle is huge, and the outcome will have an enormous impact on our economy. The battle is over applying sales taxes to products sold on the Internet. If California gets away with its new, unconstitutional tax, consumers nationwide could be hit for billions and the economy will be harmed,” Forbes writes. “Tax-hungry pols these days are eyeing not catalog but Internet retailers, particularly the biggest one of them all: Amazon (AMZN). The Golden State legislature recently adopted the so-called Amazon tax, which dictates that the Seattle-based retailer and other e-retailers must collect a sales levy on everything it/they sell to California residents and turn the proceeds over to the state treasury. How in the world does Amazon, which has no physical presence in the state, get hit up for sales tax? This is as flagrant a violation of a Supreme Court decision as one will ever find.”



@pwire: Huntsman has nearly 3X the staffers in New Hampshire of any other presidential candidate…

@AlexConant: More good local press for T-Paw in…

@MPOTheHill: In which Dick Durbin throws a punch toward the GOP field, particularly Bachmann and Pawlenty

@lizzieohreally: Physical ache from @crampell's piece on the long-term unemployed. Mandatory

@JoeBrettell: Hill folks should be kind to their staff assistants and interns today…phones may be ringing off the hook #pickupthetab



(all times local)

* Tim Pawlenty attends a meet-and-greet in Washington, Iowa at 8 a.m. He attends a Fairfield meet-and-greet at 11 a.m. At 1 p.m., Pawlenty hosts a meet-and-greet in Ottumwa. He heads to Osceola for a meet-and-greet at 4 p.m. At 7 p.m., he attends the Polk County GOP Meeting in Des Moines.

* Jon Huntsman speaks at Dartmouth College's "Leading Voices in Politics and Policy" in Hanover, N.H. at noon.

* Rick Santorum visits a town hall meeting in Ankeny, Iowa at 8:15 a.m. He visits another in Boone at 10:15 a.m. At 12:30 p.m., Santorum attends another town hall in Ft. Dodge. He stops by one in Storm Lake at 3 p.m., and then is the featured speaker at the Osceola County Republican Party picnic in Sibley at 6 p.m. as part of his Santorum Family Tour.

 The Note Futures Calendar:


* Get The Note delivered to your inbox every day.

* For breaking political news and analysis check out The Note blog:


You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus