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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor / Drew Angerer, Getty Images

The relationship between President Obama and House Republican leader Eric Cantor still seems strained.

Obama and Cantor, who once clashed during budget negotiations, argued again Wednesday over immigration and even the nature of a phone call.

After Obama spoke with the House majority leader, Cantor issued a statement saying that "the President called me hours after he issued a partisan statement which attacked me and my fellow House Republicans and which indicated no sincere desire to work together.

"After five years," Cantor added, "President Obama still has not learned how to effectively work with Congress to get things done. You do not attack the very people you hope to engage in a serious dialogue."

White House officials expressed surprise at Cantor's reaction to the Obama phone call, describing it as a pleasant Passover greeting.

In his written statement earlier in the day, Obama noted that the Senate passed an immigration bill a year ago, but, "unfortunately, Republicans in the House of Representatives have repeatedly failed to take action, seemingly preferring the status quo of a broken immigration system over meaningful reform."

From The Wall Street Journal:

"The back-and-forth on immigration comes as election season heats up, leaving many lawmakers loath to take up complicated and divisive issues such as overhauling the immigration system. Mr. Cantor himself is generally thought to be interested in a middle ground between Republican leaders who think the issue should wait until after the elections and those who want to push forward with a mix of Republican and Democratic votes. ...

"A White House official said the White House was surprised by Mr. Cantor's reaction, saying Mr. Obama had only called the majority leader to wish him a happy Passover -- and the topic of immigration came up. The official said the call was 'pleasant.'"



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Obama, Cantor argue about immigration (and phone call)

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