President, Speaker Fail to Resolve Budget Crisis After Lively Round of Rock-Paper-Scissors
President Obama met for an hour Wednesday with House Speaker John Boehner in a bipartisan game of “Rock-Paper-Scissors” in an effort to settle the issue of putting the administration’s “clean” continuing resolution to a vote in the House. Boehner, in a statement after the meeting, called the hour “fruitless.”
“First we played best of three, then five,” a grim-faced Boehner said in an impromptu press conference in the capitol rotunda. “The president, whose experience with two young daughters gives him a clear advantage, always opened with ‘paper,’ which countered my position as ‘rock,’ yet I cannot abide by the characterization of paper winning over rock.
“I went into this believing that the President was acting in good faith, but I can see that his interpretation of ‘scissors’ conflicts with that of our House caucus, and I told him so,” Boehner said.
An insider who requested anonymity said that Obama had the upper hand over Boehner from the outset. “Speaker Boehner would not let go of ‘rock,’ and after the first three rounds, the president “shook his head and played ‘scissors’ just to give Boehner a courtesy win. The Speaker wouldn’t let up.”
Later, the president joked that “rock’ is for rookies,” which clearly chapped Mr. Boehner.. “It’s a strategy game,” Mr. Obama said. “He always goes ‘rock’ first; so do I. Tie. He goes rock again; I go paper. I know he'll never go three in a row, so his next move is paper and I go scissors. I psych him out by planting a suggestion in his mind by casually gesturing 'scissors' as we’re talking. What's the first thing he throws? Scissors! I spotted him three rounds but he’s way predictable.” After nine rounds, veterans benefits, national park funding, and supplemental nutrition programs were all re-funded through 2014. "If I keep this up, I could push through a jobs program," the president quipped.
After Boehner’s challenge of “best of 15,” his aides were able to pull him away for a series of new appropriation votes. “We almost got everything funded by dinner,” Obama said.
The debt stalemate and government shut down, which threatens to send the U.S. into default and drive the economy into a deeper recession, totters into its tenth day on Thursday.
“I’m still ready to stop this crisis any time the President wants to play fair,” Boehner said. “I still don’t get how paper beats rock. That’s not how it’s done.”