The Presidents reaction was a bit defensive. The Blaze reports: Obama, in his typical affable and diplomatic manner, warned Cantor not to set such an ultimatum and threatened to veto legislation that would extend the debt ceiling only for a short period.
The president told me, Eric, dont call my bluff. Im going to take this to the American people, Cantor said.
President Obama went on to criticize both sides.
This process is confirming what the American people think is the worst about Washington: that everyone is more interested in posturing, political position and protecting their base than solving real problems, Obama said.
The Blaze notes the irony of the Presidents assertions, however:
Of course, this is coming from the man who warned Tuesday that failure to raise the debt ceiling could mean that Social Security checks, veterans benefits and other government obligations would not be paid as scheduled in August. If anyone knows anything about posturing, surely it is Obama.
After the verbal tongue-lashing issued by the President, a top Republican accused the White House of playing political games to provoke a yes vote on extending the ceiling. President Obama then allegedly stormed out of the meeting.
According to Cantor, He became very agitated. He said Ronald Reagan wouldnt sit here. You either have to compromise on the dollar figure or the grand bargain. Cantor said Obama then shoved back and said, Well see you tomorrow.
Democrats have tried to deny that the President actually walked out of the meeting. One official explained, Left abruptly is perfectly fair. But the meeting was over in no sense did he walk out on it.
One Democratic aide said, Obama was concluding the meeting, giving the closing remarks and talking about meeting tomorrow. Cantor interrupted him and raised for the third time doing a short-term (so after it had already been addressed twice), and Obama shut him down. Cantor was playing the role hes played throughout this whole thing being not productive.
But according to another congressional aide, Obama dressed down Eric Cantor.
The President spoke for several minutes uninterrupted about how he would not be deterred in doing what is best for the country, the aide said. The meeting ended with Cantor being dressed down while sitting in silence.
Still others defended the Presidents reaction. [Obama] was most insistent that he wanted the debt limit extended into 2013, because he believes a repeat of what were going through now, when things will be politically more tense, would be very destabilizing, claimed another aide.
According to other aides present at the meeting, who wished to remain anonymous, the meeting was the most heated that theyve experienced during the past few months of discussions on the debt ceiling.
Cantor made a similar assertion, saying it was the most intense meeting of the week.
Some sources claim the president walked out on the meeting simply because Republicans have refused Democrats calls for taxes.
The Los Angeles Times explains:
Republicans have refused to vote for the debt ceiling increase unless it is accompanied by steep spending cuts equaling about $2.4 trillion over the next decade, though their own spending plan requires that the limit be raised. Obama is seeking a larger deficit reduction plan, totaling about $4 trillion over the decade, but would include both spending cuts and tax revenue. The GOP has rejected that idea.
Congress and the White House have been engaged in a stalemate for over a month on whether the debt $14.3 trillion debt ceiling should be raised. The administration claims that without raising the debt ceiling by the time it reaches its limit on August 2, the government will be unable to pay all of its bills.
Meanwhile, Moodys Investors Services warned that the United States credit rating is about to be downgraded again, which could potentially impact financial markets.
Photo: President Barack Obama meets with Congressional leaders regarding the debt ceiling, July 13, 2011, in the Cabinet Room at the White House. From left are, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, and Obama: AP Images