White House: Don't expect 'hallelujah moment' in Thursday's debt talks 

The White House is already lowering expectations for Thursday's debt negotiations, the fifth meeting in the past week alone between President Obama and congressional leaders over long-term spending cuts and raising the nation's borrowing capacity.

"I do not expect today, a 'hallelujah moment,'" White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, adding there is still potential for a "grand bargain" or "holy grail, if you will."

The president and lawmakers will discuss savings in health care entitlement programs, Carney said. The White House is pushing for a consensus by Friday on whether long-term savings can be identified — if not, the group will likely shift its focus to raising the debt ceiling.

Despite assurances of progress, the meetings have become seemingly more contentious. When House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., pushed the president on a short-term deal Wednesday, Obama became agitated and said he would take his case "to the American people," according to the Virginia lawmaker.

Carney did not deny the exchange on Thursday.

"I don't have a word-for-word account to give you," he said, when asked about the testy end to the Wednesday summit.


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