Senate Democrats are embracing Eric Cantor’s account of a testy President Obama challenging the Majority Leader in a meeting, using the Republican’s version of events in a fundraising e-mail.
According to Cantor, Obama ended their Wednesday debt ceiling negotiations with a stern warning before abruptly leaving. “He said to me, ‘Eric, don’t call my bluff. I’m going to the American people with this,’” Cantor told reporters on Wednesday. “I was somewhat taken aback.”
The White House disputed his claim that Obama ditched the talks, which they said were already concluding, But the line that Cantor recounted to the press is catching on with Democrats. In a message titled “Bluff,” DSCC executive director Guy Cecil asked supporters on Thursday to help back up Obama’s challenge with some extra cash. The e-mail is below:
Don’t call my bluff.
These were the strong words President Obama had for Eric Cantor, leader of the Congressional “Hell No” Caucus. These Republicans are so bent on destroying the president, they’re willing to create an economic meltdown to try to tie it on the Democrats.
The president and Democrats are holding strong against this obstinacy, but in no time, the GOP will go on the attack. If a debt ceiling deal is not reached, they will spend millions blaming Democrats. And we will need to fight back against every single lie.
Right now, Karl Rove’s special-interest funded group is on the air with a $7 million ad buy. The election might be next year, but the fight is happening NOW.
Many of you have told me your desire that we go after the Republicans on this as strongly as possible. So I’ve created an Emergency Media Campaign, designed to defend the defenders of Medicare and Social Security and end the political careers of as many Republicans as possible.
We are holding strong. But we need your backing. Can you chip in $5 for this Emergency Media Campaign and help us raise $200,000 by next Friday?
We’re protecting our ideology here. Democrats believe that a great nation protects those who can’t protect themselves. We believe in helping the elderly, the poor and the sick. Republicans will attack us for it and try to take it away.
I say “hell no.” Say it with me.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.