At a press conference yesterday, I asked House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to respond to the criticism among conservatives that if Republicans were to hold out past Aug. 2, they'd be in a better position to negotiate a deal.
“I’ve heard that comment made from some of my colleagues — I disagree,” he said. “With a fragile economy that we have, the last thing we need to do is be playing around with Aug. 2 and the unknown.”
When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R- Ky., defended his own plan for raising the debt limit earlier this month, he said, “I refuse to help Barack Obama get reelected by marching Republicans into a position where we have co-ownership of a bad economy.”
In view of today's disastrous GDP numbers, both of these arguments, one might imagine, become that much more persuasive to Republicans. Boehner can use the report to hammer home this point to holdouts: the biggest obstacle to shrinking government and repealing the health care law is if President Obama gets reelected. The economic outlook keeps getting worse, he's sinking in the polls, but failing to raise the debt limit would be throwing him a lifeline.
And certainly, on a day when Democrats thought they were ready to make Boehner look like a fool over last night's pulled vote, Obama will have to spend the day defending his economic record.
We'll know soon enough how this plays out.