President Obama said Thursday that he believes House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) unwillingness to raise taxes on the nation's top earners is motivated by a desire to remain in good graces with House Republicans.
In an interview with Minnesota CBS affiliate WCCO, Obama was asked if "trust" has been an issue while negotiating with Boehner.
"You know, my sense is, it’s less an issue of trust and this has more to do with politics," Obama said. "I think the idea of not raising taxes has become sort of a religion for a lot of members of the Republican Party. I think Speaker Boehner has a contentious caucus, as his caucus is tough on him sometimes so he doesn’t want to look like he’s giving in to me somehow because that might hurt him in his own caucus."
Obama and Boehner met at the White House on Thursday to discuss the ongoing negotiations over how to address the tax hikes and spending cuts set to kick in on January 1. Few details have emerged on the meeting.
"The President and Speaker had a frank meeting in the Oval Office tonight," read identical statements put out by both the White House and Boehner's office. "It lasted approximately 50 minutes. There will be no further readout of the meeting, but lines of communication remain open."
The president and House speaker also met privately on Sunday, and have spoken over the phone at least twice in recent days. However, negotiations apparently remain stalled, with both Obama and Boehner unwilling to budge on taxes.
On Wednesday, Boehner warned his caucus to not make plans for the upcoming holiday, signaling that he does not expect to reach a deal by Christmas.