Boehner, left, and Obama have tried before to cut budget deals. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
The White House was remarkably tight-lipped during talks with congressional leaders that produced a sweeping fiscal accord, and lawmakers say that silence helped the negotiators reach a deal that had so often eluded them.
Obama administration officials turned to Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan to lead talks with departing Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Many experts identified hurdles and predicted failure.