Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) said Tuesday that direct talks to divert the fiscal cliff are continuing between the staffs of President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio).
Asked whether a series of campaign-style events on both sides of the aisle indicate the negotiations have stalled, Durbin said he remains optimistic.
"I don't think they've stalled," Durbin said following a speech at the liberal Center for American Progress. "I think we're playing ping-pong up here and rolling bowling balls under the table–different levels of activity here."
"The real talks are underway between the Speaker's staff and the president's staff, (Director of Legislative Affairs) Rob Nabors, to see what we can come to an agree on," Durbin continued.
The Illinois Senator said the president's events are trying to "dramatize" public support for raising taxes on the wealthy.