By Sam Youngman - 07/22/11 10:56 PM EDT
President Obama unleashed a tirade of frustration, anger and disappointment toward Republicans Friday after House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced he was withdrawing from negotiations with White House.
The president, in possibly his most emotional and stern appearance to date, said in no uncertain terms that he is summoning congressional leaders to the White House on Saturday morning.
“I want them here at 11 o'clock tomorrow,” Obama said. “We have run out of time, and they are going to have to explain to me how it is we are going to default.”
“I've been left at the altar now a couple of times,” Obama said.
The president was angry on a number of counts, but he seemed especially miffed by Boehner's refusal to communicate with him on Friday before he walked away from the table.
Obama said he had a "cordial" relationship with Boehner "up until sometime today when I couldn't get a phone call returned."
The president insisted he had gone further than the Senate’s bipartisan Gang of Six in an effort to appease House Republicans, even putting the Democratic sacred cow of Social Security on the negotiating table.
“I think one of the questions the Republican Party is gonna have to ask itself is can they say yes to anything,” Obama said.
He added: “It is hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this kind of deal. There are a lot of Republicans who are puzzled as to why it couldn't get done. There are a lot of Republican voters out there who are puzzled as to why it got done.”
The president repeatedly used words such as “inexcusable” and “irresponsible” to blast House Republicans, saying Democrats had stepped up and been willing to sacrifice on entitlements.
“So when you write your stories, this was not the usual food fight between Democrats and Republicans,” Obama said. “A lot of Democrats stepped up in ways that were not advantageous politically. So we've shown ourselves willing to do the tough stuff even though its what Republicans ran on.”
To that end, Obama questioned “how serious" Republicans are about wanting to address debts and deficits.
“Or do you simply want it as a campaign ploy going into the next election,” the president said.
Obama said he was happy to agree to a plan put forward by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that would give Obama the authority to raise the debt ceiling.
“If they want to give me the responsibility to do it, I'm happy to do it,” he said.