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Tempers Flare as Debt Talks Take Dramatic Turn

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
President Obama and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor engaged in a high stakes test of wills at Wednesday’s debt ceiling negotiations in the White House, trading dramatic ultimatums in the most intense round of talks yet. With tempers boiling over, Cantor took his grievances public in an unprecedented press conference after Obama issued a veto threat and told the Republican lawmaker he’d had “enough.”

The meeting began normally enough, with Obama welcoming the eight congressional leaders from both parties to the White House. He made opening remarks and then called on Cantor. Cantor griped that the number figure in cuts has been shrinking since last week. Last Thursday – when Obama and House Speaker John Boehner proposed a grand bargain that Cantor helped bring down two days later in the face of a revolt from the right – the President had offered $1.7 trillion in savings, Cantor said, as a baseline of agreement.

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