A blow-by-blow account of a political negotiation gone wrong. President Obama and Republican House speaker John Boehner came close to a deal last July that would cut federal spending and bring in billions in new revenue. But a series of missteps led to its demise:
From Boehner’s perspective, it’s not hard to see why he came away feeling Obama betrayed him. ‘He had to have known that this was going to set my hair on fire,’ Boehner told me when we sat together in his office on the first day of March. He was seated in a leather chair by a marble fireplace, his cigarette smoldering in an ashtray at his side. Three aides sat nearby.
‘You have to understand,’ he went on, ‘there were hours and hours of conversation, and he would tell me more about my political situation than I ever would think about it, all right? So when you come in and all of a sudden you want $400 billion more — he had to have known!’ Boehner shook his head, as if he was still puzzled by it all.