“President Obama bluntly told Republican congressional leaders yesterday they must compromise quickly if the government is to avoid an unprecedented default, adding, ‘Don’t call my bluff’ by passing a short-term debt limit increase he has threatened to veto,” the AP writes. “The presidential warning, directed at House majority leader Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia, marked an acrimonious end to a two-hour negotiating session at the White House that produced no evident progress toward a compromise. Another round of talks is set for today.”
“The meeting ‘ended with the President abruptly walking out of the meeting,’ Cantor told reporters after the session,” per the New York Daily News. "I know why he lost his temper. He's frustrated. We're all frustrated."
The New York Post: “Angry Obama walks out on debt-limit talks.”
The Hill: “Obama warns Cantor: 'Don't call my bluff' in debt-ceiling talks”
Roll Call: “As news broke late Wednesday that Moody’s Investors Service was mulling a downgrade of the U.S. government’s triple-A credit rating, Congressional leaders emerged from a ‘tense’ White House meeting that ended abruptly after a heated exchange between President Barack Obama and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).”
The Wall Street Journal: "Moody's Investors Service said it was reviewing the government's top Aaa bond rating for a possible downgrade, citing the ‘rising possibility’ that the government's $14.29 trillion borrowing limit won't be raised soon enough to prevent the U.S. from running out of money to pay its bills."
Stu Rothenberg’s take: “Fundamentally, the two parties are fighting over values, not dollars. … [I]n reality, what we are witnessing is nothing less than a fight over the role of government. And it is much harder, if not impossible, to “split the difference” on these kinds of matters of opinion.”
“Failing to pay what is owed holders of Treasury bills, bonds, and other investments tied to the US government could cause catastrophic short-term problems, such as the credit market freezing as fearful banks refuse to loan money,” the Boston Globe writes. “Long term, any failure to meet these obligations would drive up costs of borrowing, adding hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit. For those next in line to receive money due from the government, the future is much murkier.” That includes Social Security.
"The White House on Wednesday declined to challenge an account in a new book that suggests that President Obama, in his campaign to overhaul American health care, mischaracterized a central anecdote about his mother’s deathbed dispute with her insurance company," the New York Times says. During his presidential campaign and subsequent battle over a health care law, Mr. Obama quieted crowds with the story of his mother’s fight with her insurer over whether her cancer was a pre-existing condition that disqualified her from coverage."
"But in 'A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother,' author Janny Scott quotes from correspondence from the president’s mother to assert that the 1995 dispute concerned a Cigna disability insurance policy and that her actual health insurer had apparently reimbursed most of her medical expenses without argument... The book concludes that although Mr. Obama often suggested that Ms. Dunham 'was denied health coverage because of a pre-existing condition, it appears from her correspondence that she was only denied disability coverage.' Ms. Dunham, an anthropologist who worked on development projects in Indonesia, died in 1995, less than a year after her diagnosis."