Lew Dodges Question About Bachmann

by Brian Bolduc

Itching to start a fight between the White House and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R., Minn.), David Gregory, host of Meet the Press, asked Jack Lew, director of the Office of Management of Budget, why 53 percent of Americans who were “very closely” following the debt-ceiling negotiations told Gallup in a recent survey they would vote against an increase in the debt limit.

“Do you think that’s because there are Republicans, like Michele Bachmann and others, saying that this administration is merely selling, in her words, a misnomer — that we’re headed toward default,” Gregory asked. “Where does that come from? Do you think they actually believe that or do you think they’re doing that cynically?”

“I can’t explain what motivates people to say those things,” Lew replied. “I can tell you the facts are the facts. If we don’t raise the debt ceiling, we won’t be able to pay our bills in August. And that has dire consequences.”

Later, Lew insinuated that Republicans were being intransigent — so intransigent, in fact, that they were preventing a deal along the lines of the 1986 tax reform or the balanced budgets of the late 1990s. “Leadership requires a partner,” Lew warned.