If there was ever going to be a deficit-cutting agreement, said House Speaker Thomas Foley in the 7:30 a.m. breakfast meeting at the White House last Tuesday, then the President had to make "some kind of public commitment."
"Like what?" asked George Bush. "What would make you satisfied?"
Foley was prepared; he and fellow Democrats George Mitchell and Richard Gephardt, the Senate and House majority leaders, had worked out a presentation in advance. After an hour of discussion, Budget Director Richard Darman wrote out a draft of a formal statement in longhand.
The Democrats left the room to caucus, then returned...