November 17th, 2010
06:18 AM ET

WH slurpee summit off

Washington (CNN) - So much for getting things off on a post-election bipartisan note. President Obama's plan to have a bipartisan meeting at the White House on Thursday fell apart late Tuesday amid finger-pointing about who's to blame for delaying what had become informally known as the "Slurpee Summit."

Days of scheduling negotiations broke down after Republican leaders Mitch McConnell and John Boehner told the White House the crush of business setting up the new Congress while juggling a lame duck session of the old one was too much, according to officials in both parties.

While Republicans insist that Democratic leaders were also having a hard time making Thursday work because of other events, Democratic officials they would have made the meeting despite the crowded schedule and they're questioning the GOP commitment to working together.

"They can spin it however they want," said one Democratic official. "All I know is that a bipartisan group of the House and Senate leadership was invited to the White House. It doesn't bode well for future cooperation."

But Don Stewart, a spokesman for McConnell, insisted Democrats are blowing the delay out of proportion. He predicted both sides will come together early next week or shortly after Thanksgiving.

"Thursday was just a tentative date, it was never confirmed," emailed Stewart. "The meeting will happen; the schedulers are working to find the best date/time to make it happen. We'll have a meeting so that we can discuss issues that Republicans have long said can be accomplished together. These include reducing spending, growing jobs through increased trade and increasing domestic energy. The Leader is encouraged that the President wants to discuss these areas of agreement."


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