Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh encouraged GOP lawmakers to take the existing game of political brinksmanship regarding the fiscal cliff and bring it to its next logical step: Backing out of negotiations with President Barack Obama entirely.

On his program on Thursday, Limbaugh advised Republicans to completely withdraw in order to "find out just how willing [Obama] is to take the country over the cliff."

"The way to handle that, the way to call his bluff on this is to not negotiate with him and leave it up to him what happens," he said. "Very publicly walk away from the talks so that whatever happens vis-à-vis the cliff is perceived to happen -- well, the real point will be to flush Obama out, find out. I would suggest to people who really believe Obama is concerned about his second term and his legacy -- he doesn't want a recession -- the only way to flush that out is to come dangerously close to allowing it all to happen."

(Audio via Media Matters below)


Limbaugh isn't alone in his assessment that Republicans have little to gain from engaging with Obama and Democrats on crafting a deal that would avert the fiscal cliff. Earlier this week, former GOP Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich advised congressional Republicans to "back out of all of this negotiating with Obama." And conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer suggested Thursday that they "simply walk away" from the bargaining table.

While Republicans haven't yet heeded this advice, they have repeatedly sounded glib about the lack of progress on finding an agreement.

On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner presented Obama's proposal to Republicans, outlining a plan with $1.6 trillion in new tax revenue over the coming decade, a new round of stimulus spending and a loosely outlined $400 billion in cuts to entitlement programs to be negotiated next year. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reportedly laughed out loud at the blueprint, while other Republicans responded angrily to what was contained in it.

Despite the outrage, the offer was actually presented to them earlier this month by President Barack Obama at the White House, according to a well-placed Democratic source, and confirmed by two GOP sources involved in the talks.

What surprised Republicans wasn't the newest offer, but who delivered it. The original offer, delivered by Obama, simply wasn't taken seriously. Republicans assumed that Obama's initial offer floated to congressional leaders would go like many others he's made in the past, and quickly soften amid staff talks. That seemed to be happening, which left them taken by surpise by Geithner. Acknowledging that Thursday's offer was essentially the same as the one presented by the president, a GOP aide said that White House "staff has been back-channeling flexibility up until now. This was the first time their staff echoed his fantasyland numbers." A second senior GOP aide called Thursday's offer "a more detailed version" of Obama's. "The day after the White House meeting, we gave them our framework. It took them 10 days for them to give us theirs and it didn't reflect any of the conversations we have had since then," he said.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Els for Autism Pro Am

    WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 12: Rush Limbaugh of the USA the radio personality with Greg Norman of Australia during the Els for Autism Pro-am at The PGA National Golf Club on March 12, 2012 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

  • Rush Limbaugh

    Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh poses with a bust in his likeness during a secretive ceremony inducting him into the Hall of Famous Missourians on Monday, May 14, 2012, in the state Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo. (AP Photo/Julie Smith)

  • Rush Limbaugh

  • Rush Limbaugh

    Lt. Gov Peter Kinder, left, and Speaker of the House, Steven Tilley, right, pose with conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh and a bust in Limbaugh's likeness during a secretive ceremony inducting Limbaugh into the Hall of Famous Missourians on Monday, May 14, 2012, in the state Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo. (AP Photo/Julie Smith)

  • Protesters carry boxes containing petition signatures Wednesday, March 28, 2012, in Jefferson City, Mo. The protesters delivered 35,000 petition signatures Wednesday to the House speaker's office opposing the inclusion of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh in the Hall of Famous Missourians in the latest in a series of opposition efforts to Limbaugh's selection. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Protesters carry boxes containing petition signatures Wednesday, March 28, 2012, in Jefferson City, Mo. The protesters delivered 35,000 petition signatures Wednesday to the House speaker's office opposing the inclusion of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh in the Hall of Famous Missourians in the latest in a series of opposition efforts to Limbaugh's selection. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Shelia Rekdal holds a sign during a protest of Rush Limbaugh Wednesday, March 28, 2012, in Jefferson City, Mo. The protesters delivered 35,000 petition signatures Wednesday to the House speaker's office opposing the inclusion of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh in the Hall of Famous Missourians in the latest in a series of opposition efforts to Limbaugh's selection. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • A woman holds a poster during a protest at the state capitol Wednesday, March 28, 2012, in Jefferson City, Mo. The protesters delivered 35,000 petition signatures Wednesday to the House speaker's office opposing the inclusion of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh in the Hall of Famous Missourians in the latest in a series of opposition efforts to Limbaugh's selection. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Els for Autism Pro Am

    WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 12: Rush Limbaugh of the USA the radio personality with Greg Norman of Australia during the Els for Autism Pro-am at The PGA National Golf Club on March 12, 2012 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

  • Els for Autism Pro Am

    WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 12: Rush Limbaugh of the USA the radio personality during the Els for Autism Pro-am at The PGA National Golf Club on March 12, 2012 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

  • Els for Autism Pro Am

    WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 12: Rush Limbaugh of the USA the radio personality during the Els for Autism Pro-am at The PGA National Golf Club on March 12, 2012 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

  • Els for Autism Pro Am

    WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 12: Rush Limbaugh of the USA the radio personality during the Els for Autism Pro-am at The PGA National Golf Club on March 12, 2012 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

  • Els for Autism Pro Am

    WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 21: Marvin Shanken tees off watched by Rush Limbaugh the Radio Presenter during the Els for Autism Pro-am at The PGA National Golf Club on March 21, 2011 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

  • Els for Autism Pro Am

    WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 21: Rudy Guiliani The former Mayor of New York drives watched by Jack Nicklaus and Rush Limbaugh The Radio Presenter during the Els for Autism Pro-am at The PGA National Golf Club on March 21, 2011 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

  • Els for Autism Pro Am

    WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 21: Rudy Guiliani The former Mayor of New York drives watched by Marvin Shanken and Rush Limbaugh The Radio Presenter during the Els for Autism Pro-am at The PGA National Golf Club on March 21, 2011 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

  • Els for Autism Pro Am

    WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 21: Rush Limbaugh the Radio Presenter during the Els for Autism Pro-am at The PGA National Golf Club on March 21, 2011 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

  • Els for Autism Pro-Am

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - MARCH 15: Rush Limbaugh during the Els for Autism Pro-Am on the Champions Course at the PGA National Golf Club on March 15, 2010 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

  • 2010 Miss America Pageant Preliminary Competition

    LAS VEGAS - JANUARY 27: Radio talk show host and conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh salutes as he is introduced as a judge before a preliminary competition for the 2010 Miss America Pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino January 27, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The pageant will be held at the resort on January 30, 2010. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • 2010 Miss America Pageant Judges News Conference

    LAS VEGAS - JANUARY 27: Radio talk show host and conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, one of the judges for the 2010 Miss America Pageant, speaks during a news conference for judges at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino January 27, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The pageant will be held at the resort on January 30, 2010. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • 2010 Miss America Pageant Judges News Conference

    LAS VEGAS - JANUARY 27: Two of the judges in the 2010 Miss America Pageant, saxophonist Dave Koz (L) and radio talk show host and conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, speak during a news conference for the judges at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino January 27, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The pageant will be held at the resort on January 30, 2010. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • 2010 Miss America Pageant Judges News Conference

    LAS VEGAS - JANUARY 27: Radio talk show host and conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, one of the judges for the 2010 Miss America Pageant, speaks during a news conference for judges at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino January 27, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The pageant will be held at the resort on January 30, 2010. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • 2010 Miss America Pageant Judges News Conference

    LAS VEGAS - JANUARY 27: Radio talk show host and conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, one of the judges for the 2010 Miss America Pageant, speaks during a news conference for judges at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino January 27, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The pageant will be held at the resort on January 30, 2010. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • Baltimore Ravens v Minnesota Vikings

    MINNEAPOLIS - OCTOBER 18: A fan holds a sign in support of Rush Limbaugh as the Minnesota Vikings host the Baltimore Ravens during NFL action at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on October 18, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Te Vikings defeated the Ravens 33-31. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

  • Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh speak

    Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh speaks with guests prior to a ceremony where US President George W. Bush presented former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Australia's former Prime Minister John Howard and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, January 13, 2009. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Bush Presents Presidential Medals Of Freedom

    WASHINGTON - JANUARY 13: Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (L) talks with radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh (R) before the start of a Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House January 13, 2009 in Washington DC. During the ceremony U.S. President George W. Bush presented the Medal of Freedom to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

  • Premeire Of HBO's "Bernard and Doris" - Arrivals

    NEW YORK - JANUARY 30: Rush Limbaugh attends the premiere of HBO's 'Bernard and Doris' at the Time Warner screening room on January 30, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

  • Bush Presents Presidential Medals Of Freedom

    WASHINGTON - JANUARY 13: Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh attends a Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House January 13, 2009 in Washington DC. During the ceremony U.S. President George W. Bush presented the Medal of Freedom to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)