It was, sources from both parties say, the most tense of the deficit reduction meetings yet.
After a period of what was described as constructive discussions as officials walked through more than $1 trillion in spending cuts, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said, "Wherever we are, it’s a long way from the $2.4 trillion needed to meet House GOP goals of dollar for dollar.”
So Cantor suggested a possible short-term extension in order to avoid default, with another vote next year.
The president -- frustrated -- said there would be no short term extensions. It would be bad for the economy, and resolving the deficit issue certainly won't be easier next year in the throes of the political season, he said.
If we can't do this now, we won't be able to do it next year, he said.
“This process is confirming what the American people think is the worst about Washington," the president said. "Everyone is more interested in posturing, political position and protecting their base than in solving problems.”
He said we can get a lot of savings “if the spirit changes from why we can't do things to why we can.
"I have shown enormous willingness to compromise and have taken huge heat for it," he said, "but my responsibility is to the American people and there comes a point when I need to say, 'Enough.'"
"It cannot all be on us," the president said, arguing that Republicans need to give on the revenue side of things as Democrats are willing to do so on spending cuts.
"Don't call my bluff," the president said. "I am not afraid to veto and I will take it to the American people."
If Moody's downgrades the United States, "it will be a tax increase on every American," he said.
There needs to be a long-term debt extension, the president argued.
"This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this,” he said.
Then he abruptly ended the meeting, saying, "see you tomorrow."