Photo: US Embassy New Zealand
Washington Post senior correspondent Bob Woodward has a piece detailing the negotiations that led to the deal raising the debt limit last year, and as usual it is chock full of juicy quotes based on his unprecedented access.As Woodward tells it, Congress did an end-run around the White House to get the deal through. Woodward portrays President Obama has having been caught flat-footed, and paints the Senate as a doormat.
Woodward inserts us into the action in July 2011, when a draft bill temporarily raising the debt ceiling but requiring the issue to be revisited one more time before the November elections lands on the President’s desk.
According to the piece, the draft was anathema for the White House.
” ‘We’ve got to figure out Plan B. Which is, how do we get out of this thing?’ [Obama] said.
“The problem was that they did not have a Plan B. It was increasingly clear that no one was running Washington.”
The climax comes when Harry Reid’s chief of staff David Krone accuses the White House of being ill-prepared to handle the tough stance House Republicans were taking:
” ‘Mr. President, I am sorry — with all due respect — that we are in this situation that we’re in, but we got handed this football on Friday night,’ [Krone says]. ‘And I didn’t create this situation.
“The first thing that baffles me is, from my private-sector experience, the first rule that I’ve always been taught is to have a Plan B. And it is really disheartening that you, that this White House did not have a Plan B.’ “
Several jaws dropped as the Hill staffer blasted the president to his face.
The piece is adapted from Woodward’s upcoming book, The Price of Politics, about how President Obama has ended up ceding legislative power to Congress.
As reviewed by the Post‘s Steven Luxenberg, the book “reveals a man [Obama] perhaps a bit too confident in his negotiating skills and in his ability to understand his adversaries.
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