WASHINGTON -- White House press secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday flatly dismissed allegations by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) that a top House Republican told President Barack Obama, in the middle of negotiations over the government shutdown, "I cannot even stand to look at you."
“I looked into this and spoke with somebody who was in that meeting and it did not happen,” Carney said during his daily briefing.
Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), has demanded an apology from Durbin.
“Senator Durbin’s accusation is a serious one, and it appears to have been invented out of thin air," Buck said in a statement. "The senator should disclose who told him this account of events, retract his reckless allegation immediately, and apologize."
But two Democratic aides, both of whom requested anonymity, told The Huffington Post that the incident was relayed to members during a Senate Democratic Caucus meeting shortly after it allegedly happened. And Durbin isn't backing down from the claims he originally made on his Facebook page on Sunday.
"Sen. Durbin stands by his comments," Durbin spokesman Max Gleischman told The Huffington Post.
A request for comment from Carney was not immediately returned. Buck reiterated his position, and Carney's comment, that the incident never happened.
"This didn't happen and The Huffington Post should be looking into who started this false rumor," he said.