Many Republicans searching for something to say in defense of the disastrous shutdown strategy will say President Obama just doesn’t try hard enough to communicate with Republicans. But in a “negotiation” meeting with the president, one GOP House Leader told the president: “I cannot even stand to look at you.”
What are the chances of an honest conversation with someone who has just said something so disrespectful?
JAY CARNEY: I will say this, I spoke with somebody who was in that meeting and it did not happen.
QUESTION: Did the White House speak to Senator Durbin about this?
CARNEY: I don’t know. My understanding is that, again, from participants in the meeting that that didn’t happen.
QUESTION: Did anything like it happen that would —
CARNEY: Not that I’m aware of, Jackie.
Jonathan Strong’s obviously right that if this had actually happened, especially during the shutdown, Democrats would have pushed it out into big media as evidence of how rude and recalcitrant Republicans are rather than farming it out to Dick Durbin for a three-sentence Facebook post. And do note: That post was published three days ago, on October 20th, not late last night or this morning. He’s had three days to correct it or yank it down, but either he made the whole thing up and assumed his own party wouldn’t call him on it or he got bad info from someone and didn’t care enough about whether it was true to check with a second source. Which is it?
Two strands to this story now. One: Will it get picked up in lefty media despite Carney’s denial? The idea of a Republican being this personally rude to Obama is worth 45 minutes of navel-gazing about “extremism” and “neo-confederates” on “Hardball.” Tingles might not be able to resist, even if it’s all a big lie. Two: How would Durbin be privy to something a House Republican said during a meeting with Obama? O did meet with House GOP reps during the shutdown, but as far as I know there were no Democrats present. Some Democrats, i.e. Reid and Pelosi, were present when Obama met with the Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress, but no one seriously believes either Boehner or Mitch McConnell would say something this obnoxious to Obama. Assuming Durbin’s not making this up whole cloth, someone in either the White House or in Congress smeared the GOP in feeding him this nonsense. Who was it?
Update: I guess this answers the first question.
Until Sen. Durban retracts his claim, I'll be believing him #standwithdurbin
— Joan Walsh (@joanwalsh) October 23, 2013
Update: If Harry Reid could get away with smearing Mitt Romney over his alleged failure to pay taxes, why wouldn’t Durbin think he could get away with this?
Durbin's office says the sen stands by his comments that Hse ldrshp R said they can't stand to look at Obama, even after Carney debunked it
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) October 23, 2013