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John Boehner

Tuesday afternoon, House Speaker John Boehner made a statement responding to President Obama's press conference on the shutdown and the debt limit. Boehner's position continues to boil down to this: Republicans are definitely taking the economy hostage and threatening default. Or, as he put it "What the president said today was if there's unconditional surrender by Republicans he'll sit down and talk to us. That's not the way our government works."

It apparently remains Boehner's position, though, that taking the country into default unless the party that controls one branch of Congress gets everything it wants is the way our government works.

Along the way to that conclusion, Boehner laid out a massively exaggerated history of the last couple decades of negotiations over the debt limit, claiming that what today's Republicans are demanding is not as historically unprecedented as it in fact is. The concessions Democrats have repeatedly made to Republicans over the past few years barely factored in his story, despite several reminders that, in 2011, the president did negotiate. Having gotten his way so many times previously, Boehner does not appear to have a plan for what will happen if Obama and congressional Democrats continue to stand firm this time:

Asked how he would react if it came to the last minute and there's no debt ceiling agreement, Boehner ... punted completely.
That's it. Boehner's plan is that Obama will cave and negotiate. Otherwise, Republicans will throw the country into default, with all the chaos that entails.

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