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October 8th, 2013
05:59 PM ET

Analysis: Boehner is looking for an escape hatch

House Speaker John Boehner gave something of a history lesson Tuesday, saying it is not unusual for debt limit votes to be accompanied by legislation.

"There's going to be a negotiation here," Boehner said. "We can't raise the debt ceiling without doing something about what's driving it to borrow more money and live beyond our means."

"A month ago, this all started with Ted Cruz, and 30 or 40 tea party House members saying we are going to shut down the government and not raise the debt ceiling unless they repeal Obamacare. And all of a sudden they Speaker is talking about run away spending and other budgets – what is it exactly they're doing?" said CNN political contributor and Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen.

"Boehner needs to be clear about what the ask is," said The Washington Examiner's Philip Klein, like in 2011, when Boehner clearly laid out that he wanted $1 of spending cuts for every $1 increase of the debt limit.

Now, he is being "vague," and unclear about his demands, said Klein.

"He's looking for an escape hatch," said Jonathan Martin, with The New York Times.

"What Speaker Boehner is trying to do is get to a point where he can call a vote, ideally for him one vote, to re-open the government, to raise the debt ceiling ... he wants to have something in there that can give him some cover," said Martin.

Boehner is not going to get a repeal of Obamacare, the president's signature piece of legislation, so he "wants something in middle, that is what he's grasping for," said Martin.

For more of our political roundtable, watch the video above.

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