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Asked how willing he would be to negotiate a deal that leaves behind conservatives, Mr. Boehner made clear where his allegiance lies: “Not very interested.”

Democratic leaders have banked on a divide-and-conquer strategy in spending negotiations with Republicans, as they try to drive a wedge between Mr. Boehner and tea party-aligned lawmakers, many of them freshmen who have little appetite for compromising on spending cuts.

“The tea party may have helped the Republicans win the last election, but they’re not helping the Republicans govern. The tea party is a negative force in these talks,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, who has spoken regularly on the Senate floor this week in attempts to pressure Mr. Boehner to turn his back on tea partyers.

Mr. Schumer said the tea party’s engagement in politics is “as American as it gets,” but that their spending-cuts goals “are extreme because they’re out of step with what most Americans want” in terms of spending cuts.

Mr. Schumer unintentionally revealed at the start of a conference call this week that painting the tea party as “extreme” was a party talking point. “I always use the word ‘extreme’ — that is what the caucus instructed me to do the other week,” he said when he thought the call hadn’t started recording.

Responding to a spate of attacks against tea partyers, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, told his colleagues that “the goals of the tea party sound pretty reasonable.”

“These folks recognize the gravity of the problems we face as a nation, and they’re doing something about it for the sake of our future,” he said. “They’re engaged in the debate about spending and debt — which is a lot more than we can say about the president and many Democrats in Congress.”