Speaker of the House John Boehner said President Obama has been AWOL on the debt talks, but Obama noted that Congress will be out of town for a good chunk of the summer on vacation.
Kevin Lamarque / Reuters / File
Mr. Obama does have a history of leaving details up to Congress. And until last week, it was Vice President Biden who represented the administration in deficit reduction talks with the deputies in the Republican leadership.
Now the principals have taken over. And Obama, in fact, says it’s Congress that’s been AWOL. With a little more than a month to go before the nation reaches the edge of a financial cliff, if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, Obama is calling on his interlocutors on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue to spend more time in Washington.
“If by the end of this week we have not seen substantial progress, then I think members of Congress need to understand we are going to, you know, start having to cancel things and stay here until we get it done,” Obama said. “You know? They’re – they’re – they’re in one week, they’re out one week. And then they’re saying, Obama’s got to step in it.”
At this moment, Obama was at his most animated of the hour-plus press conference. Clearly, the criticism that he hasn’t shown adequate leadership on deficit reduction has reached him.