Josh Marshall has a post up at Talking Points Memo on the postponement of the planned summit between President Obama and House Republicans.
Get this! The Republicans told Politico that one of the reasons Republicans canceled it was because they were upset Obama “crashed” their caucus meeting this past January.
You remember that, right? That’s the retreat the GOP invited Obama to. They wanted to ambush him with a bunch of questions and make him look bad, but he didn’t follow the script and kicked their asses.
Marshall notes these opening paragraphs of the Politico piece:
The roots of the partisan standoff that led to the postponement of the bipartisan White House summit scheduled for Thursday date back to January, when President Barack Obama crashed a GOP meeting in Baltimore to deliver a humiliating rebuke of House Republicans.
Obama’s last-minute decision to address the House GOP retreat – and the one-sided televised presidential lecture many Republicans decried as a political ambush – has left a lingering distrust of Obama invitations and a wariness about accommodating every scheduling request emanating from the West Wing, aides tell POLITICO.
“He has a ways to go to rebuild the trust,” said a top Republican Hill staffer. “The Baltimore thing was unbelievable. There were [House Republicans] who only knew Obama was coming when they saw Secret Service guys scouting out the place.”
Of course, this is a complete lie. As Marshall notes:
Honestly, I’m not even sure what to make of this. Not only does this version of events seem preposterous on its face, I didn’t even realize this was their storyline.
Let’s start with this whole idea that Obama somehow just showed up and blew up their retreat. Crashed, ambushed, etc. This was definitely not my recollection. I thought that the House Republicans invited Obama. And he accepted. Indeed, I remember for what I think were several days in advance our Eric Kleefeld telling me how excited he was to see a US equivalent of the Brits’ question time.
So was it an ambush? Well, My God, not even close. Here’s the press release from Mike Pence, Chairman of the House Republican Conference, thanking the president on January 13th for “accept[ing] our invitation to meet with the Republican Conference later this month.” And here’s the Politico’s write up from January 12th, the day before. In other words, that’s more than two weeks before these House Republicans who must have spent the month in a sensory deprivation chamber were stunned to see the president’s motorcade driving up unannounced to crash their party. And if they’d forgotten here’s the write-up from The Hill the day before the event …
Emboldened by an unexpected victory in Massachusetts and frustrated with a “partisan” State of the Union address, House Republicans are eager to meet with President Barack Obama on Friday.
So here they are all gunned up and eagerly awaiting President Obama’s ambush of them that they didn’t know anything about.
How can you deal with these guys when they just fabricate history. They issued press releases. Hell, soon-to-be Speaker of the House John Boehner was quoted as saying: “We’re eager for the president to come to our retreat tomorrow. We’re going to have an honest conversation about America’s priorities and trying to find ways to find some common ground.”
Republicans knew Obama was coming in January. They asked him to come. They wanted to use the opportunity to make him look bad, but instead, they were petty and unprepared and Obama proceeded to drive a truck through the holes in their half-baked arguments.
That’s the reason the GOP postponed the latest meeting.
And now they’re creating the alternate reality that he crashed their party. They really think their constituents are a bunch of idiots. Words don’t exist to describe their gall. I’ll use a made-up one: Hacktacular.
(And while I’m at it, this is a spectacular failure on the part of Politico, which let the GOP get away with another diversion into fantasy. Even they knew there was no truth to the “ambush” story line, because they wrote a preview story on the January meeting a week before it happened.)