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Parties posture on debt issue

The threat of a first-ever default by the federal government is pushing President Barack Obama and Republicans toward a sweeping agreement to cut government spending and increase the Treasury’s borrowing authority. Yet a perennial partisan struggle over Medicare drives them apart. Remarkably, the two sides seem determined to pursue both accord and discord simultaneously, sparing the still-wobbling economy from threatened calamity while preserving Medicare as a political issue in the 2012 elections. “I’m willing. I’m ready. It is time to have the conversation” about deficit cuts and the debt limit, said House Speaker John Boehner, urging Obama to become personally
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GOP to Obama: Get serious on deficit

Top Republicans on Friday said an increase in the jobless rate underscored the need for President Barack Obama to get personally involved in talks to cut government spending to help stimulate economic growth. “One look at the jobs report should show the White House it’s time to get serious about cutting spending and dealing with our ailing economy,” House Speaker John Boehner said after data showed jobs growth slowed sharply in May and the jobless rate rose to 9.1 percent. Boehner said Obama needed to take a more active role in deficit-reduction talks if the president hopes for agreement between
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In the end, Anthony is just a Weiner

“Weiner Exposed.” “Weiner’s Pickle.” “Battle of the Bulge.” Those were some of the tabloid headlines lampooning Rep. Anthony Weiner as he struggled to explain how a photo of a man’s crotch had been posted to his Twitter account. The normally media-savvy New York Democrat squandered his chance to make it right with a cringe-inducing TV blitz that raised more questions than it answered. It’s a surprising turn for the pugnacious 46-year old Brooklyn native, who until this mess was widely seen as one of the smartest members of Congress. But the fallout from the incident has highlighted his weaknesses, casting
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Feds indict Edwards for misuse of campaign funds

In May 2007, as John Edwards endured ridicule for his $400 haircut, a wealthy supporter fired off a note to a campaign aide, vowing to privately pay for his hair care and other expenses important to his candidacy. “It is a way to help our friend without government restrictions,” Bunny Mellon wrote in a letter cited by federal prosecutors. Investigators believe there should have been restrictions on the $925,000 in under-the-table money that Mellon and another benefactor ended up providing to support Edwards. It’s key to the government’s contention that the 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee broke the law in
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U.S. threatened with credit rating hit if debt crisis continues

Facing a dire warning from a credit rating agency, the Obama administration lobbied some of Congress’ most conservative members Thursday for an increase in the nation’s debt limit. Republicans responded that the surest way to reassure financial markets was to enact deep deficit cuts. At the White House, President Barack Obama told Democrats he expected talks led by Vice President Joe Biden to achieve only about 60 to 70 percent of the reductions required as part of the deal, officials said, leaving him and top lawmakers to agree on the rest. The Biden talks are aimed at producing a bipartisan
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Weak economy stalls economy

U.S. employment probably lost steam in May as high energy prices and the effects of Japan’s earthquake bogged down the economy. Nonfarm payrolls likely increased 150,000 last month, according to a Reuters survey of economists, after advancing by an 11-month-high of 244,000 jobs in April. The job creation slowdown would confirm the economic weakness already flagged by other data from consumer spending to manufacturing. It could stoke fears about the depth and duration of a slowdown that started early in the year. Economists still believe the lull in activity will be temporary. They cite high gasoline prices, bad weather and
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Criminal charges expected Friday against John Edwards

Criminal charges are likely to be filed Friday against John Edwards, the culmination of a two-year federal investigation into money used to cover up his extramarital affair during the 2008 presidential election. Edwards’ attorney Greg Craig was traveling to meet Friday with prosecutors in North Carolina, an indication that the former presidential candidate is likely to charged, either in a grand jury indictment or in a negotiated charge to which he would plead guilty. A person with knowledge of the investigation said Craig, a Washington lawyer who was President Barack Obama’s first White House counsel, planned to be in his
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Romney: ‘Obama has failed America’

Mitt Romney is opening his first formal day as a 2012 Republican presidential contender with a direct challenge to the man he wants to replace and is pitching himself as ready to repair the nation’s struggling economy. “Barack Obama has failed America,” he says. In excerpts of a kick-off speech released ahead of his formal announcement Thursday, Romney’s campaign message homes in on the economic woes that top voters’ frustrations: a lack of jobs, persistent foreclosures and runaway spending in Washington. It’s a pitch tailored to the conservatives who hold great sway in picking the GOP’s presidential nominee in Iowa
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Democrats distort GOP Medicare plan

Democrats are distorting the fundamentals of a Republican plan to reshape Medicare, falsely accusing the GOP of pushing a proposal that tells the elderly “you’re on your own” with health care and that lets insurers deny coverage to the sick. Medicare always pushes hot buttons with voters. Both parties know this and spare no effort to exploit the issue, with truth as the frequent casualty. That’s the case now as Democrats go after a far-reaching plan introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and largely embraced by congressional Republicans. The new chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz,
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Boehner wants debt deal within a month

Washington needs to wrap up a deal to increase borrowing authority within a month to avoid rattling financial markets, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Wednesday. Boehner told reporters he is “ready to proceed” in talks with President Barack Obama and called on him to get more involved. But the top Republican reiterated that “significant reductions in spending and changes to the budget process” had to be included in any deal to raise the Treasury Department’s borrowing authority, which now stands at $14.3 trillion. Boehner spoke to reporters several hours after he and other House Republicans met with
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