- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 19, 2013

The budget battle between President Obama and House Republicans devolved into schoolyard taunts Thursday, with the president’s spokesman saying Speaker John A. Boehner suffers from “Putin envy” in response to a House GOP video that criticizes Mr. Obama for negotiating with the Russian leader.

Mr. Boehner’s office released the video to make the point that Mr. Obama is more willing to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin over Syria’s chemical weapons than he is to deal with Republican lawmakers over an Oct. 1 budget deadline.

“POTUS is happy to negotiate w/Vladimir Putin … but won’t work w/Congress on needed deficit reduction,” the Ohio Republican tweeted from @SpeakerBoehner.

That prompted White House press secretary Jay Carney to fire back with a not-so-subtle reference to Mr. Boehner’s manhood.

“The video, I thought, demonstrated a little Putin envy, a little odd bit of Putin envy, on behalf of the speaker, but maybe he can explain that,” Mr. Carney said.

A reporter asked, “What is ‘Putin envy,’ exactly?”

Mr. Carney didn’t answer, but one of his White House colleagues did. An assistant White House press secretary, Matt Lehrich, posted his definition of “Putin envy” on his Twitter account.

Putin envy (n.) — When one pretends, for political purposes, to want negotiations w a President who they said they’d never negotiate w again,” he wrote.

The video begins with clips of Mr. Obama, Mr. Carney and other insiders saying the administration will not negotiate on the nation’s debt limit. It then, however, flips to more recent clips of the president and Secretary of State John F. Kerry expressing a desire to engage in “substantive, meaningful negotiations” with Mr. Putin on chemical weapons use in Syria.

The video also shows a shirtless Mr. Putin riding a horse.

Mr. Carney called the accusation that the president won’t negotiate with House Republicans “irrefutably false.”

“The president has spent an enormous amount of time with John Boehner over the years, and I have no doubt, and you can expect that the president will be in conversations with congressional leaders in the coming days about the need to deal with these pressing deadlines,” he said.

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