They’re starting to crack under the strain, guys.
A top Senate Democrat said that a leading House Republican told President Obama that they could not ‘even stand to look at you’ during negotiations over the government shutdown.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said in a Facebook post that the alleged confrontation happened during a meeting between Republicans and the president.
Spokesmen for both Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor say neither official said or remembers anyone else saying they couldn’t stand to look at President Obama at a White House summit during the government shutdown, as Democratic senator Dick Durbin of Illinois alleged in a Facebook post.
“The speaker certainly didn’t say that, and does not recall anyone else doing so,” says Michael Steel, Boehner’s spokesman. Cantor spokesman Rory Cooper also says his boss did not say and does not remember anyone saying that.
Annnnd here’s the confirmation of the denial from… the White House:
JACKIE CALMES, NEW YORK TIMES: Just to follow up on that. In terms of the president talking to Republicans, can you rule out — there was the number two Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin, said on his Facebook page that someone in recent exchange with the president said he can’t even stand, this member of Congress, that he can’t even stand to look at the president. Can you say whether that happened?
JAY CARNEY: I will say this, I spoke with somebody who was in that meeting and it did not happen.
[UPDATE] : Dick Durbin doubles down.
— WSJ Washington Wire (@WSJwashington) October 23, 2013
See also Legal Insurrection and Ace of Spades HQ*. This is all the more bemusing because, as near as I can tell, the Republican party had pretty much nothing to do with this story at all, except apparently to act as a sort of convenient devil-cutout for the senior Democratic Senator from Illinois. In fact, I’m not exactly sure what, if anything, we should be doing now. Go get a sandwich and a beer, maybe?
*Which includes Joan Walsh going mad in public! Well, madder.