Boehner to Durbin: Apologize!

Dick Durbin speaks on Capitol Hill during heaing on April 19, 2007.
National Journal
Billy House
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Billy House
Oct. 23, 2013, 11:15 a.m.

Speak­er John Boehner’s of­fice is de­mand­ing an apo­logy from Sen. Dick Durbin for his Face­book al­leg­a­tion that an an­onym­ous GOP House lead­er told Pres­id­ent Obama dur­ing a meet­ing amid the gov­ern­ment shut­down, “I can­not even stand to look at you.”

Boehner’s of­fice is point­ing out that White House Press Sec­ret­ary Jay Car­ney on Wed­nes­day — in re­sponse to a ques­tion from The New York Times — has said of the in­cid­ent, “It did not hap­pen.”

“Sen­at­or Durbin’s ac­cus­a­tion is a ser­i­ous one, and it ap­pears to have been in­ven­ted out of thin air,” said a Boehner spokes­man, Brendan Buck, in a state­ment.

Buck ad­ded, “The sen­at­or should dis­close who told him this ac­count of events, re­tract his reck­less al­leg­a­tion im­me­di­ately, and apo­lo­gize.”

There was no im­me­di­ate re­sponse from Durbin’s of­fice. As the ma­jor­ity whip, the Illinois sen­at­or is the second-rank­ing Demo­crat­ic lead­er in the Sen­ate.

Durbin, in post­ing the re­mark Sunday, ar­gued that such a re­mark made to the pres­id­ent — by a House Re­pub­lic­an lead­er — made ne­go­ti­ations even more dif­fi­cult.

“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,’ ” wrote Durbin.

“What are the chances of an hon­est con­ver­sa­tion with someone who has just said something so dis­respect­ful?” Durbin’s post­ing asked.

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