Woodward: Republicans Tried To "Blackmail Obama"


JAKE TAPPER: You write in the book kind of predicting what we're going through right now. You write that aides who were involved in previous conversations, quote, "are frightened because there are too few conversations between the White House and the Republicans and there is insufficient framework or history to suggest how they might succeed in the next round, which is sure to come by the end of 2013."

Tell me where you see an opening for there to be a solution here.

BOB WOODWARD: Well, first of all, what's happened here, they were trying to blackmail Obama on Obamacare, and he rightly drew a red line on that, and that's off the table. And so what you're going to see here is, and this is kind of at the core of what a president has to do, he has to govern. And he -- and if this is a calamity, if we run into some sort of economic meltdown, it's going to be in the Obama presidency that this occurred.

And I write -- there's a scene that Ruth Marcus at "The Post" wrote a column on yesterday about Obama realizing it's kind of the King Solomon moment. You can't be the mother who divides the baby. That a president, because he has to lead the whole country, Republicans and Democrats, is constrained and he acknowledged to his aides and when I interviewed him, he said well, I didn't say this publicly, but the reality was he was in a weak position because he knew he had to make a deal. The Republicans at least up to this moment have kind of said, oh, no, we're going after Obamacare.

The taking that off the table is a big moment in this, so you see the stock market, people are smart about that. There's hope -- light at the end of the tunnel.

Now, you know, who knows, these people don't have, and this is where I take kind of a view right in the center, they have not established the kind of relationship where they can call each other, where they can meet, where they can kind of bare their soul, where they can kind of say, look, I have to have this, I understand you've got to have that.

In this book, you can see there are some ideas that they both have, believe it or not, that would be good for the country, be good for everyone. For instance, entitlement cuts.

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