In an accidental moment of honesty, White House Deputy Press Secretary Dan Pfeiffer today admitted on Twitter that President Obama will likely sign any debt deal Congress sends his way. This revelation came in an exchange with Stephen Gutowski, the blogger known as The College Politico. Gutowski asked Pfeiffer: “Do you see a scenario where the house & senate pass a deal but the President doesn’t sign it?” and Pfeiffer responded: “No, bc only something that has R and D support can pass both bodies”.
Up until today, the White House has attempted to portray President Obama as the mediator of a grand bargain, but his role has increasingly diminished as Congressional leaders have lost faith and trust in the negotiations taking place in the West Wing. It is now clear that President Obama is on the sidelines, without a plan or position, hoping Congress can solve the impasse without him.
When this statement was pointed out, Pfeiffer immediately began to walk back the statement, saying: “no, I said I believed a short term can’t pass congress not shld it”. [A note to non-Twitter users, with a 140 character limit on messages, this type of shorthand is common] But that is not the question Pfeiffer was asked.
This exchange merely confirms what observers have been noting for weeks; the President’s veto-threats and ultimatums are political theater and not much more. With the administration’s deadline fast approaching, any bill Congress sends the White House will certainly get a presidential signature.