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Obama agenda: About last night

The Wall Street Journal: "President Barack Obama and congressional leaders met Wednesday for the first time since the federal government shut down, emerging more than an hour later with no evidence of progress toward resolving their impasse over health care and government spending. With hundreds of thousands of federal workers on furlough for a second day, congressional officials of both parties left the White House meeting pessimistic about prospects for a speedy end to the deadlock. They made clear that neither side had made concessions."

NBC News: "'The president reiterated one more time tonight that he will not negotiate,' said Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who did not take any questions after a brief statement to reporters. 'We had a nice conversation, a light conversation, but at some point we've got to allow the process our founders gave us to work out,' he added, saying that Senate Democrats should agree to a bipartisan 'conference' to negotiate a deal that could include major changes to President Barack Obama's health care law."

President Obama told CNBC’s John Harwood that he is “exasperated” with Republicans, who he says he has “bent over backwards to work with.” Said Obama, “I think it's fair to say that— during the course of my presidency— I have bent over backwards to work with— the Republican party. And have purposely kept my rhetoric down. I think I'm pretty well known for being a calm guy. Sometimes people think I'm too calm. And am I exasperated? Absolutely I'm exasperated. Because this is entirely unnecessary. We have a situation right now where if John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, puts a bill on the floor to reopen the government at current funding levels, so that we can then negotiate on a real budget that allows us to stop governing from crisis to crisis, it would pass. The only thing that's stopping it is that John Boehner right now has not been willing to say no to a faction of the Republican Party that are willing to burn the house down because of an obsession over my health care initiative.”

In an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu accused Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei of heading “a cult.” "[The Iranian people] are governed not by Rouhani. They're governed by Ayatollah Khamenei. He heads a cult. That cult is wild in its ambitions and its aggression.” He said he is skeptical of Rouhani, saying Khamenei “calls the shots …. [Rouhani] tells him — he tells his boss, the dictator of Iran, 'I can get you the completion of the nuclear program by speaking nicely to the West. I can — what [former President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad tried to do with a frown, I'll do with a smile.’” He added, “"Ahmadinejad was a wolf in wolf's clothing. And Rouhani is a wolf in sheep's clothing. But it doesn't mean we should let him...pull the wool over our eyes.”

AP: “President Barack Obama’s strategy during the partial shutdown of the federal government is aimed at keeping up the appearance of a leader focused on the public’s priorities and avoiding looking tone deaf to the hundreds of thousands of Americans forced off the job. He’s also trying to maintain what the White House sees as a political advantage over Republicans, with nearly all the president’s events providing him a platform to blast House GOP lawmakers for opposing a Senate bill to keep the government running.”

Mitch McConnell said the meeting at the White House was “cordial but unproductive.”

Said House Speaker John Boehner: "The president reiterated one more time tonight that he will not negotiate.”

USA Today: “As the government shutdown enters a third day on Thursday, President Obama visits a local construction company to discuss the budget impasse and the debt ceiling. ‘The president will highlight the impacts that a shutdown and default would have on our economy and our nation's small businesses,’ says the White House schedule.”

Los Angeles Times: "As he deals with a standoff that could scramble the politics of his second term, Obama has adopted a new approach to Congress: He is keeping his distance. The shift from hands-on to arm's-length is at the core of the White House strategy, a deliberate change made easier by the nature of the budget stalemate. Republicans are divided over the tactics that led to the first government shutdown in 17 years. Boehner is driving, but tea party conservatives are the GPS."