On the fifth day, the President threatened the debt negotiators with detention. The debt ceiling negotiations picked up again on Thursday with another meeting at the White House that didn't bring any major progress. Negotiators met for over an hour but nothing came of it. The president said that negotiators had to hammer out the framework for a deal "in the next 36 hours or lawmakers will have to return to the negotiating table this weekend," reports Manu Raju for Politico. The president is effectively threatening to keep everyone for detention on Saturday. Does this mean Obama is now angling himself to be Richard Vernon, the principal from The Breakfast Club?
The talks on Thursday were "cordial" according to Michael Memoli at the Los Angeles Times, which comes as quite a turnaround after the week's increasingly saucy affairs. The new-found civility of the meeting might have been caused by the relative silence of Eric Cantor. He must have known that when you mess with the bull, you get the horns.
NBC's Luke Russert and Vaughn Ververs reported Cantor and John Boehner were showing a "united front" going into the meeting, where Boehner said he was happy to have Cantor "in the foxhole" with him. He also said anyone who has questions about Cantor's contributions "can keep them to themselves." Something changed apparently, because at the meeting the outspoken GOP youngster remained almost totally silent according to a Democratic aide who spoke to Talking Points Memo about the meeting.
In an interview with a CBS affiliate excerpted by Memoli, Obama told reporters that, "at a certain point, the American people run out of patience if they think that people are playing games and not serious in terms of solving problems."
He also said that he has shown his willingness to compromise, "but what we haven't seen is any willingness on the part of some congressional leaders to budge an inch -- on positions that, by the way, the vast majority of the American people don't agree with." The "some congressional leaders" he was referring to, obviously, meant Boehner and Cantor. Unfortunately, a GOP aide told Luke Russert after the meeting, "we're pretty much in the same place we were yesterday in terms of a deal that can pass the House."
The president is holding a press conference Friday morning at 11 a.m. Reps for each party are to confer with their members on Friday to "figure out what can get done," an aide told The New York Times. If neither party can complete their homework on time, then they have to come in on Saturday.
If nothing is decided tomorrow, hopefully John Boehner and Eric Cantor will rehearse for the big dance number Saturday.
Or will John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi be the Ferris and Jeanie Bueller of the weekend's talks?