WASHINGTON - With talks to end the government shutdown and raise the federal debt limit in limbo, President Obama today questioned House Speaker John Boehner's ability to deliver on an agreement, saying he "can't control his caucus."
"For Speaker Boehner, for example, him negotiating with me isn't necessarily good for the extreme faction in his caucus. It weakens him," the president told WABC-TV's Diana Williams. "There have been repeated situations where we have agreements. Then he goes back and it turns out that he can't control his caucus.
"So the challenge here is: can you deliver on agreements that are made? Are you able to come up with sensible bipartisan compromises and deliver on them?" he asked. "The one thing that I've shown is if I say I'm prepared to compromise on something, I can deliver votes and we can get it done."
The president was optimistic that a deal to avert default and reopen the government can be reached and urged congressional leaders to "do what's right" and "not do any posturing, let's not try to save face, let's not worry about politics."
"I think House Republicans still believe that they can get concessions for doing what, doing their job and making sure the American people aren't hurt. So we'll see how that plays itself out," he said. "What I do think is that the Republicans recognizing this was not a good strategy and seeing a horrible reaction from the American people, I'm pretty sure they're not going to run this play again."