White House mum on Boehner talks, defends keeping cliff talks private
By JENNIFER EPSTEIN |
12/10/12 12:15 PM EST
The White House wouldn’t offer any new details Monday on the weekend meeting between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, as press secretary Jay Carney defended keeping the content of the talks private.
"I can confirm that there was a meeting and that lines of communication remain open, but I cannot characterize the talks, the conversations beyond that,” Carney said during a gaggle aboard Air Force One en route to a Michigan event where Obama will make his case for his approach to the fiscal cliff, and herald the creation of new jobs in the auto industry.
Asked why the White House isn’t offering status updates – even just saying that progress is being made in the right direction – in hopes of reassuring middle class Americans, business leaders and the world, Carney said that an agreement is most likely to be reached by keeping discussions under wraps.
“Our interest is in seeing if we can reach an agreement, and not trying to negotiate an agreement through the media,” he said.
“I’m highly sympathetic to the interests that you have in this,” Carney told reporters, “but we believe that it’s in the best interests of the prospects of getting an agreement to not readout the details of conversations that the president has with the speaker, or other conversations that will hopefully make it possible to get an agreement.”
Later on, Carney was asked if the president was nearing a decision on his picks to lead the State Department and the Defense Department in a second term, and again offered little information.
“Thank you for the opportunity to say that I have no personnel announcements to make today,” Carney said.
“I’ll ask him if he wants to come back and just give you guys a hint,” he added.