So we already know from the Woodward book that Obama and his staff didn’t have a contact number to reach John Boehner on election night 2010 to congratulate the GOP on winning a House majority. Let that sink in: the White House didn’t know how to contact the House minority leader. But don’t forget: gridlock is the Republicans’ fault. (I’ll add that I’m sure they’d like to lose Nancy Pelosi’s phone number some times.)
But then there’s this little detail in Woodward’s book:
President Obama told author Bob Woodward that he didn’t know Rep. Paul Ryan was going to attend at a major speech he delivered last year on spending and debt, and says in retrospect that it was “a mistake” to dress down Ryan and his budget plans to his face in that setting.
“I’ll go ahead and say it – I think that I was not aware when I gave that speech that Jack Ryan was going to be sitting right there,” the president told Woodward according to audio transcripts of their conversations, provided to ABC News.
“And so I did feel, in retrospect, had I known – we literally didn’t know he was going to be there until – or I didn’t know, until I arrived. I might have modified some of it so that we would leave more negotiations open, because I do think that they felt like we were trying to embarrass him,” Obama continued. “We made a mistake.”
Wait, what? Did he really say Jack Ryan? He did. Good grief.
I also think this is a lie on Obama’s part. The White House arranged a first row seat for Ryan. Surely someone knew he was coming. This was unlikely to have been an accident.