Not surprisingly, House Republicans and the Obama White House have two different versions of today's White House meeting on the debt ceiling.
Per a GOP aide, President Obama gave opening remarks, followed by House Speaker John Boehner and a few other House Republican members. Then House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan spoke. "Hey, I'm that Ryan guy," he said.
Ryan then stated that leaders can either exacerbate the problem -- or solve it. He continued, per the GOP aide, that the year started well (with the Bush tax cuts and the continuing resolution). Then came Obama's speech, where he blasted the House Republican budget -- written by Ryan -- including its overhaul of Medicare. "It's a signal to your party to turn it on, and to us that you are thinking about 2012."
Ryan argued that the House budget plan doesn't turn Medicare into a voucher program -- it's a subsidy. And seniors would deal directly with Medicare, not private insurance companies.
And, according to this Republican, Ryan concluded, "Leaders have to lead, and you haven't done it yet." House Republicans then gave Ryan a standing ovation.
However, in a stakeout after the meeting, Ryan noted, "That's not exactly what I said," per NBC's Mike Viqueira. We've got to get our spending under control," he said. "We have to deal with this. If we try to demagogue each other, then we're not applying political leadership."
A White House source has a different version of events:
[Ryan] was very nervous and defensive. POTUS pointed out that he disagreed with Ryan's plan because he didn't think we should change Medicare fundamentally to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy. And that both sides shouldn't demagogue, which is something he knows something about since he has been called the "job killing, death panel, probably-wasn't-born-here president."