April 15, 2011 ( – In private comments accidentally transmitted to the press, President Obama yesterday gave some candid insights into the recent negotiations with Republicans over the budget bill – including the battle over funding Planned Parenthood and the federal health care law.

Obama was speaking to donors at an event in Chicago, but, unbeknownst to him, his comments were being piped back by a live mic into the press room, where they were overheard by CBS Radio News White House correspondent Mark Knoller.

“I remember at one point in the negotiations,” Obama was heard telling supporters, “One of Boehner’s staff people pipes up and says, ‘You don’t understand Mr. President, you know, we’ve lost on you know, healthcare, we’ve lost on the EPA we’ve given that up, we’ve got to have something for our – to sell to our caucus.’

“And I said to them, I said let me tell you something – I spent a year and a half getting healthcare passed. I had to take that issue across the country and I paid significant political costs to get it done. The notion that I’m going to let you guys undo that in a six months spending bill, you want to repeal healthcare, go at it, we’ll have that debate. But you won’t be able to do that by nickel and dimming me in the budget. You think we’re stupid?”

Regarding the budget provision to defund Planned Parenthood, Obama said he told Boehner, “We’re happy to have the debate. We’ll have the debate on the floor of the Senate or the floor of the House. Put it in a separate bill. We’ll call it up.

“And if you think you can overturn my veto, try it. But don’t try to sneak this through.”

Ultimately Obama got his way: the final budget bill was stripped of the Pence amendment defunding Planned Parenthood, and GOP negotiators secured a separate up-or-down vote on the abortion giant’s funding.

Although the House supported the separate defunding measure on Thursday, the Democrat-led Senate struck it down later that afternoon.

The White House today responded to the leak of Obama’s comments yesterday.

“That was meant to be a closed-press event. He was taking questions from supporters,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters. “But there’s nothing – nothing he said that contradicts anything he said in public.”


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