"This isn't some damn game!" House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, just declared, his voice rising, as he told reporters on Capitol Hill that he believes it's the Obama administration that's to blame for the four-day-old partial shutdown of the federal government.
Boehner's emotional moment came as he held up — and then slammed down — a copy of Friday's Wall Street Journal, where he'd read that an unnamed administration official said "we are winning ... It doesn't really matter to us" how long the shutdown lasts.
"The American people don't want their government shut down and neither do I," Boehner added. He called on the president and his aides to "sit down" and negotiate.
"All I'm asking for is to sit down and talk to each other like the American people expect us to," Boehner also said.
The White House and other Democrats, of course, say it's Boehner and his Republican colleagues who are at fault for insisting that any deal on getting the government running again include steps to either defund, delay or denude the new "Obamacare" health care initiatives.
Update at 1:15 p.m. ET. Obama Calls On Boehner To Let Congress Vote:
With Vice President Joe Biden by his side at a Washington sandwich shop, President Obama said this afternoon that Boehner can end the shutdown quickly if he would "simply allow that vote to take place." The vote the president was referring to would be on a "clean" continuing resolution that funds government operations without touching the new health care system.
The Republican strategy, Obama said, is a "gun held to the head of the American people" because of the negative effects that a prolonged shutdown or failure to increase the federal debt ceiling could have on the economy.
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.