WASHINGTON – The White House is pushing back on a reported comment by a senior administration official that it doesn't matter how long the partial government suspension lasts.
On Friday, the Wall Street Journal quoted a senior administration official who said, "We are winning. ... It doesn't really matter to us" how long the partial shutdown lasts "because what matters is the end result."
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney later tweeted: "We utterly disavow idea WH doesn't care when it ends. House should act now, no strings."
But by then, the WSJ quote had already become fodder for Republicans.
House Speaker John Boehner called on President Obama and Democrats to sit down and come to a compromise as the government scale-back of federal services dragged on to its fourth day. Boehner displayed a flash of frustration about the impasse when he held up a copy of the Journal and then slammed it down.
Boehner said he “sat there and listened to the majority leader in the United States Senate describe to me that he’s not going to talk until we surrender. And then this morning I get the Wall Street Journal out and it says 'well we don't care how long this lasts because we're winning.' This isn't some damn game. The American people don't want their government shut down and neither do I.”
The unnamed administration source who was quoted said something similar to what Republican Sen. Rand Paul was overheard telling his Kentucky colleague, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, on a live microphone Thursday: "We're going to win this, I think."
The claims of “winning” by both sides seem to illustrate that both sides are digging in their heels for a protracted fight.