Updated 9:53 pm ET
President Obama this evening staged a temper tantrum and walked out of his White House meeting with Congressional leaders on the debt ceiling, an indication the talks are headed into a free fall.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other leading Democrats gave his blessing to the debt ceiling plan by GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, which appears now even more likely to become the vehicle on which both sides will ride out of the crisis.
And crisis it increasingly is, as Moody’s said the U.S. government’s Triple A rating is now under review for a possible downgrade, citing the “rising possibility that the statutory debt limit will not be raised on a timely basis.”
The move should provide further impetus to Republicans and the White House to stop screwing around with economic Armageddon and get the debt ceiling raised. Markets so far have not reacted to the game of chicken, believing that the ceiling would somehow get moved up in time to avoid defaults. But if outfits like Moody’s start taking the chance of a default seriously, it’s anybody’s guess when some type of major negative market reaction could begin.
According to POLITICO, word of Obama’s foot stomping departure came from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who appears to be the one who pissed the president off.
Cantor said the president became “agitated” and warned the Virginia Republican not to “call my bluff” when Cantor said he would consider a short-term debt-limit hike. The meeting “ended with the president abruptly walking out of the meeting,” Cantor told reporters in the Capitol. “I know why he lost his temper. He’s frustrated. We’re all frustrated.”
The group is nevertheless scheduled to reconvene tomorrow at 4:15 pm ET.
UPDATE: Democrats deny Cantor’s version. From POLITICO.
Democratic sources dispute Cantor’s version of Obama’s walk out, but all sides agree that the two had a blow up. The sources described Obama as “impassioned” but said he didn’t exactly storm out of the room.
Obama later attempted to come to the briefing room to try to paper over the problem, but it was clear he remained a little peeved.