Cantor is a Republican from Virginia.
His father owned a real estate company and was the state treasurer for Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign.
Cantor got his law degree from William & Mary Law School in 1988 and worked for over a decade with his family’s business doing legal work and real estate development.
He’s a member of the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Republican National Committee.
He’s married with three children.
Some say he’s a jerk.
He’s taken the lead in the debt-limit negotiations as House Majority Leader.
His high stakes political maneuvering will either make him a hero or villan.
In the end – the answer may be both.
Cantor’s friends say he’s been put in the spotlight by assignment — from Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama — not by choice.
Cantor has a lot riding on the outcome of the debt-limit negotiations.
He’ll take a large portion of the public blame if they fall apart and the economy tanks.
One the other hand, he’ll face recriminations from his conservative base in the House if he cuts too soft a deal with the president.
It’s called being between a rock and a hard place.
Still, there’s little question that Republicans, led by Cantor’s loyalty to their bottom line, have forced the debt-limit debate to cross into terms of trillions in cuts instead of the clean debt increase Obama originally wanted.
He blew up Vice President Joe Biden’s deficit-reduction talks because Democrats wanted to negotiate increasing taxes.
One Republican who is critical of Cantor says: “he’s all about Eric.”
Sounds a lot like Anthony Weiner.
For years, Democrats from Obama on down have tried to make Cantor a whipping boy, as they think his persona is too smug for mainstream America.
The Senate’s Democratic Policy and Communications Committee use this quotation from Cantor’s high school yearbook to portray him as unreasonable: “I want what I want when I want it.”
Politics can be a rough game.
Cantor spent a decade rising through Republican ranks as a protégé of former House Majority Leaders Roy Blunt and Tom DeLay.
But many say he hasn’t yet grown into his role as the No. 2 Republican in the House and a national leader.
They say he’s been bad-tempered in his dealings with the White House, and positions himself to the political right of Boehner whenever possible.
They point to him walking out on the Biden talks, dominating nearly a week’s worth of discussions with the president and congressional leaders and complaining about being kept in the dark on the Obama-Boehner talks.
“He lost a lot of credibility when he walked away from the table … It was childish,” says one House Republican who knows Cantor well.
As for yesterday’s Obama vs. Cantor clash, it isn’t surprising that it happened.
After all, everyone has to be plenty frustrated by now.
But what is surprising is that Cantor went directly to the press to tell his version of the story.
After yesterday’s meeting, Cantor said he told those in the room there would have to be multiple debt-ceiling increases to get through November of next year.
“Well, that’s when [Obama] got very agitated seemingly and said that had sat there long enough and no other president, Ronald Reagan wouldn’t sit here like this, and that he’s reached the point that something’s gotta give.”
“And he said to me, ‘Eric, don’t call my bluff. I’m going to the American people with this.’”
After that, Cantor says Obama got up and said, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Tomorrow is today and they meet again at 10:15 Hawaii time.
As for the Democrats, they disagree with Cantor’s version of events.
One Democratic aide said Cantor’s story was overblown, “For someone who knows how to walk out of a meeting, you’d think he know it when he saw it. Cantor rudely interrupted the president three times to advocate for short-term debt ceiling increases while the president was wrapping the meeting.”
Know you know.