Former New York congressman Tom Reynolds, a past chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, tells me that the big takeaway from tonight’s dueling press conferences is that the talks are still on. Yes, Reynolds says, the negotiations have collapsed, but with party leaders meeting tomorrow at the White House, it is clear that both sides are still looking to deal and used tonight to draw fresh lines in the sand.
“There are still options and opportunity,” Reynolds says. Moving ahead, however, “Boehner is going to have some challenging times. He is one leg of a three-legged stool, surrounded by big-spending liberals, and now the fight has gone public.”
Reynolds guesses that a “grand bargain” is likely off the table. But the sharp remarks from President Obama and Speaker Boehner are the first steps in framing the contours of a smaller deal, he says. “This is going to continue but the large deal is going to be very difficult, if not impossible.”
“I am an old-fashioned believer in keeping people talking, keeping people negotiating, but I know how frustrating it must be for [Boehner],” Reynolds says. “A conservative House, trying to cut spending and the deficit, is finding it very hard to deal with this president.”