A leadership team divided against itself

As apparent tensions between House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) come to the fore, the two, at least publicly, insist this is just manufactured melodrama. They get along fine, we’re told. They’re on the same page, they say.

Behind the scenes, those who’ve watched the two up close seem to have a different impression.

A House Democratic leader on Wednesday suggested Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) don’t have a good relationship.

“If they’ve got a good relationship, I don’t want to see a bad one,” said Assistant Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) in an appearance on MSNBC. […]

“The facts seem to be very clear to me that this team — the Speaker and the leader on the Republican side — cannot seem to get on the same page,” Clyburn said on MSNBC.

There was also this exchange, from yesterday’s two-hour discussion at the White House.

Since pulling the plug on the deal, Boehner has been largely silent in the meetings, leaving House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to present details of the House’s position. On Tuesday, people in both parties said, Obama tried to reestablish Boehner’s primacy.

Cantor, who is advocating a smaller deal, at one point demanded that Obama offer the details of his vision for a “grand bargain.”

“Where’s your paper?” he asked angrily.

Obama snapped back: “Frankly, your speaker has it. Am I dealing with him, or am I dealing with you?”

The fact that the answer isn’t immediately obvious probably isn’t a good sign.

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