The image of President Obama as a negotiator has always been one of weakness. This is largely due to the fact that the President has not gotten credit for playing a poor hand in 2011 into a reasonable (if not ideal) outcome. Well, how does he handle the better hand that he had in this face-off with Boehner?
Obama comes across as emboldened post-election to push for a better deal than the debt ceiling “grand bargain” that collapsed during the summer of 2011. Boehner, meanwhile, wanted something in return if he agreed to raise income tax rates on those earning more than $1 million a year.
When Boehner asked Obama if they agree on a deal along the same lines as the one he walked away from during the 2011 talks, according to the paper, Obama retorted: “You missed your opportunity on that.”
Obama’s frustrations grew, and he told Boehner he would rail publicly against the Republicans in the absence of a reasonable compromise.
The Wall Street Journal provides the following excerpt:
At one point, according to notes taken by a participant, Mr. Boehner told the president, “I put $800 billion [in tax revenue] on the table. What do I get for that?”
“You get nothing,” the president said. “I get that for free.”
That may end up being one of the most memorable lines of the presidency.