No comment yet from the Republican side, but I’m thinking … this doesn’t bode well:
Boehner staffers arrived back at the Capitol and said @speakerboehner is not coming back here today.
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorpNBC) December 28, 2012
Pelosi said afterward that she thought the meeting was “candid” and “constructive” and “moved us forward, so yeah — bad vibes galore.
Oh, and contrary to this morning’s expectations, Obama reportedly did not plan to float a new offer at the meeting. His strategy was to ask Boehner, McConnell, Reid, and Pelosi for a viable counterproposal and, if none was offered, to then request an up-or-down vote on his old offer of tax hikes on earners who make $250,000 or more. Which makes sense: As I’ve explained ad nauseam, he really has no incentive to compromise before January 1. He’s now basically daring Boehner to let the GOP caucus vote down his plan before Tuesday — the “Obama middle-class tax cuts,” as I assume he’ll now be calling it — and then let the media go to work on them if they do. And if they don’t, if he gets 30 Republicans to cave and join Democrats in passing this thing, then he’ll have furthered his secondary goal of driving a wedge in the House GOP caucus.
Via the Daily Caller, here’s Krauthammer last night grimly saluting Obama for his skill in achieving that secondary goal. Stand by for updates as congressional aides start whispering about what really happened at today’s meeting.
Update: The One speaketh. 5:45 p.m. ET.
GOP House member: $400K+ mini-deal “very achievable” if Boehner supports as last hope pre-cliff. After Plan B fiasco, would get most GOPers
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) December 28, 2012
Update: Looks like the baton has been formally handed to Reid:
Boehner aide: “The group agreed that the next step should be the Senate taking bipartisan action.”
— Mike O’Brien (@mpoindc) December 28, 2012
Update: Key bit from O’s presser: He’ll let Reid and McConnell try to reach a deal on the income threshold for tax hikes, but if they can’t then he wants Reid to bring the Obama plan for tax increases on everyone who makes $250K or more up for a vote. That’s a win/win/win situation for him potentially if it comes to that. Could be that he’ll get enough panicky Republican votes in both chambers to actually pass the thing at the last minute. Could be that Senate Republicans will filibuster it, in which case he gets to blame the GOP. Or it could be that the Senate will pass it with Republican votes and then the House GOP will kill it, in which case he gets to blame the GOP and tout the fact that those darned “tea-party radicals” wouldn’t approve a bill that even Senate Republicans voted for.
Per that last point, the real angle here, I think, is to use the Senate as leverage against the House. If O’s bill (or the Reid/McConnell bill) passes the upper chamber, it’ll place all the pressure of avoiding the cliff on the House and give Republican fencesitters there some bipartisan cover to vote for it.
Update: A little extra pressure from O on Boehner and McConnell, bully-pulpit style:
— David Gregory (@davidgregory) December 28, 2012