White House says Durbin account resulted from ‘miscommunication’

The White House said Thursday that a quote attributed to an anonymous House GOP leader by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) was the result of a "miscommunication" and that it is "not accurate."

In a Facebook post this week, Durbin said a House GOP leader had told Obama during negotiations over the government shutdown, "I cannot even stand to look at you."

White House press secretary Jay Carney disputed Wednesday that the comment was ever spoken -- as House GOP leaders have -- but Durbin's office stood by the senator's account.

In a statement Thursday, a White House official reiterated Carney's denial and said the quote was the result of a misunderstanding.

"While the quote attributed to a Republican lawmaker in the House GOP meeting with the president is not accurate, there was a miscommunication when the White House read out that meeting to Senate Democrats, and we regret the misunderstanding," the White House official said.

The White House declined to elaborate on just how the miscommunication came about or who specifically was involved, but a Senate Democratic staffer familiar with the situation confirms to Post Politics that it was deputy White House chief of staff Rob Nabors who provided the information to Senate Democrats.

The Huffington Post reported Thursday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) relayed the comment during a meeting with his Senate Democratic colleagues. The offices of two Democratic senators told The Washington Post, though, that they had never heard about the comment.

Republicans have called for Durbin to apologize.

Durbin's hasn't yet commented on the new White House version of events.

Updated at 3:41 p.m.

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Matea Gold · October 24, 2013

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