Joe Biden Says What We’re All Thinking About Debt Talks

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Joe Biden is always real, man.Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Vice-President Joe Biden has never been one to stand on unnecessary ceremony, even when he's in charge of leading the deficit-reduction talks on behalf of the White House. During a meeting yesterday, upon hearing a Republican claim that tax hikes would hurt job creation, the vice-president finally had enough. "C'mon, man! Let's get real," he exclaimed, fed up with the political theater of these negotiations that has contained more melodrama than realisme.

No "real" economist buys the argument that taxes kill jobs, he argued. His wasn't the only unrestrained line of the day, either: The debt talks might have just gotten so frustrating that they'll at least become quotable. An exchange, for instance, between President Obama and John Boehner had a whiff of the schoolyard about it.

Boehner said at one point that “it’s clear to all of us how big this spending problem is. Congress keeps voting for programs we can’t pay for. But look, entitlement cuts aren’t easy for us to vote for either. Our guys aren’t cheerleading about cutting entitlements.”

“Your guys already voted for them,” the president said, referring to the budget offered by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.

“Excuse us for trying to lead,” Boehner said.

An unnamed Democratic official rejoined with a zinger of his own, reaching for the cruelest dig of all: "Ronald Reagan would have accepted this plan."

Boehner has been thrust from the spotlight in recent days in favor of Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who wrangles a key group of fiscal conservatives in the House and has made his mark by refusing to budge. It was reportedly at his urging that Boehner turned down a proposed compromise over the weekend. And, while Boehner met with Obama to seek compromise, Cantor seems irked even at questions about certain aspects of a deal, like tax increases. "I feel like I have repeated myself and repeated myself," he said Monday night.

'C’mon, Man!' Exclaims VP in Deficit Meeting. 'Let’s Get Real!' [Note/ABC News]