Boehner, the House speaker, and Eric Cantor, the majority leader, had slipped through a side entrance, out of view from the bank of television cameras stationed near the front gate off Pennsylvania Avenue.
Unions and their progressive allies had a long list of complaints: the lack of a public option in the health care law, unfilled seats on the National Labor Relations Board and Obama’s offer to strike a “grand bargain” on deficit reduction with House Speaker John Boehner.
And they seemed to be going so well by the time Obama returned from church that he invited Boehner and Cantor into the Oval Office to talk, just the three of them.
The sermon the president had heard that morning was a stirring Old Testament account of Jacob dreaming of a ladder that stretched to heaven.
Sometimes, the pastor had said, “the best adventures occur when we venture into unmarked terrain.
Against the vehement advice of many Democrats, including some of his own advisers, Obama was pursuing a compromise with his ideological opponents, a “grand bargain” that would move into unmarked territory, beyond partisan divides, pushing both parties to places they did not want to go.
Months later, that moment and the tense, ultimately unsuccessful ones that followed have become a critical issue in Obama’s reelection campaign as the president and his Republican critics lay out competing narratives about his stewardship of the economy and the United States’ fiscal health.
Republicans say those days offer clear evidence that the president is fiscally reckless and determined to tax his way out of the nation’s mounting deficit and debt problems.
A Washington Post ABC News poll this month illustrates Obama’s lingering vulnerability: Only about a third of Americans approve of his handling of the deficit.
The White House began patching frayed relations with its labor allies last summer, when the bridges it tried to build with Republicans and the business community weren’t leading to bipartisan breakthroughs or a fresh wave of private sector hiring.
Their sessions were so sensitive — especially for the speaker, who was dealing with a House teeming with tea party rebels — that Obama’s aides were under strict orders to “protect Boehner” and not talk about his private entreaties.
He “probably could not deliver a pizza,” was one administration aide’s skeptical assessment.
Lewis Joyce is a business journalist based in Gold Coast, Australia. Lewis has a passion for financial markets and breaking news stories and loves writing about business news, stock market, and economic opinions that matters most to its audience. Lewis spends a lot of time discovering and researching latest financial markets and industry news stories in order to make sure the latest and greatest stories are brought to you first on BigBoardNews.com.