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Democrats, Republicans Asked Obama to Leave Room During Debt Negotiations

From "leading from behind" to "leading from outside."

12:40 PM, Aug 4, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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There's a fascinating story over at The Hill that was published yesterday, "How John Boehner escaped disaster." I don't think we should get ahead of ourselves here, but certainly there's a storyline emerging here that when it comes to the art of the deal, Boehner is one of the more capable politicians of the era.

But now that details from the smoky backroom debates are emerging, how's Barack Obama's reputation faring? Well, not good at all. Here's a curious detail from The Hill's report on Boehner. It seems that Democrats and Republicans asked "the only adult in the room" to leave said room so they could hash out a deal:

On July 23, they claim, the White House called Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), telling her not to participate on a call with Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Pelosi informed Reid, who declined to participate, and the call was canceled, the Republican sources said. (A Pelosi spokesman could not be reached for comment.)

Later that day, the four leaders met with Obama at the White House. At one point, GOP officials said, the Democratic and Republican leaders asked Obama and his aides to leave the room to let them negotiate.

A tentative deal was subsequently struck, but Obama privately threatened to veto it, the sources said.

Recall this was just one day after Obama's angry and unflattering press conference and after Boehner had announced that he was withdrawing from White House talks to deal with Harry Reid and congressional Democrats directly. Obama, however, still insisted on summoning Congressional leaders to the White House for talks.

Add this to Obama's confrontation with Eric Cantor and storming out of earlier talks, and it sure looks like Mr. First-Class Temperament's attitude was getting in the way of a deal.

But don't worry, I'm sure the Obama administration was "leading from the outside."

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