Boehner’s retreat has incited the presidential candidates, who have been campaigning this weekend. The New York Times has the full details, but here's a brief summary. Michelle Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty averred their opposition to raising the debt ceiling; a stance designed to court the party’s purists. Predictably, Mitt Romney adopted a more conciliatory position. He said that he would support Obama’s plan in theory, but only if government is restructured and downscaled. Jon Huntsman took a similar line.
The division within the party on this vital area of policy will be played out in the coming months; both in Congress, where Boehner’s leadership will be tested, and in the presidential race itself. Obama will have his own worries: striving not to concede too much ground on flagship policies like Medicare and Medicaid during the forthcoming compromise.