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Senate Republicans more flexible in debt standoff

Senate Republicans are showing far more flexibility than their tea party-backed House colleagues as Washington policymakers seek to steer the government away from a first-ever default on its financial obligations. As the House doubled down on a symbolic vote to condition any increase in the government’s borrowing authority on congressional passage of a balanced budget constitutional amendment and a fresh wave of spending cuts, the warm reception by many Senate Republicans to a new bipartisan budget plan revealed a thawing in GOP attitudes on new tax revenues. President Barack Obama also lauded the deficit-reduction plan put forward by a bipartisan
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The magic number: 217

The terms “billions” and “trillions” are tossed around in the nation’s debt ceiling debate. Probably no number, however, is more important than 217. That’s how many votes are needed in the 435-member House, with two vacancies, to pass any measure to raise the nation’s debt limit and avert economic convulsions in about two weeks. Interviews with more than a dozen key players Tuesday suggest it’s possible, but not easy. The Senate, with its competing proposals from the “Gang of Six” and Republican leader Mitch McConnell, has dominated public attention so far. But the GOP-controlled House is the tougher challenge for
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Voters mostly blame Republicans for debt-limit deadlock

American voters have had it with Republican obstructionism in the debt limit debate and continued stonewalling by the GOP could bring payback in the 2012 elections. That’s the indication in a new CBS News poll that finds 71 percent of Americans disapproving of Republican grandstanding in the debt limit crisis. Even more dire for the GOP is the finding that 51 percent of GOP voters saying they disapprove of how their party is handling the situation. Bottom line for the GOP: Stop the showboating and get on board with a deal or Republican lawmakers could join the unemployment lines come
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Rick Perry: Another right-winger for Prez?

Should Rick Perry conclude that voter discontent has left him an opening to enter the presidential race, the longtime Texas governor would be among the GOP field’s most conservative candidates. Primary voters would get a skilled politician with TV anchorman looks, a Southern preacher’s oratory and a cowboy’s swagger, matched by a disarming candor and sense of humor. The former cotton farmer from the village of Paint Creek in West Texas has never lost an election in nearly three decades as a politician. What they wouldn’t get is a candidate whose politics are positioned to unite a Republican electorate that
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Tea party floats its debt plan

The next step in the weeks-long saga over how to increase the government’s borrowing cap is to let House tea party forces try it their way. A Republican “cut, cap and balance” plan set for a House vote Tuesday would condition a $2.4 trillion increase in the so-called debt limit on an immediate $100 billion-plus cut from next year’s budget and adoption by Congress of a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget. “Let’s let the American people decide,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, on “Fox News Sunday.” ”Do they want something common sense as cutting spending, capping the growth
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Republicans divided on debt debate

It’s no wonder that Republican presidential candidates are divided over whether to increase the federal borrowing limit. Their voters are, too. Fiscal hard-liners in early-voting states say they won’t back someone who supports raising the debt ceiling under any condition. They say the debate in Washington gives the 2012 candidates a chance to show stark differences with Democrat President Barack Obama. Other voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina say they are upset about spending. But they also say the debt ceiling must be raised as part of a broader deficit-reduction strategy. Some candidates oppose an increase. But most
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Once again, Obama plays fast and loose with facts

You might say President Barack Obama cut himself some extra margin of error when he claimed 80 percent of Americans want the debt crisis solved with a mix of tax increases and spending cuts. Polling does suggest, as Obama said, that Americans overall and even Republican voters are open to higher taxes as part of the solution. But claiming support from 8 in 10 people was a reach. A look at his statements on Friday about polling and how they compare with the actual findings: OBAMA: “You have 80 percent of the American people who support a balanced approach. Eighty
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Newt’s run for President: A campaign on life support

His presidential campaign on life support, Newt Gingrich ran into the county coroner at a recent tea party event in South Carolina. “I’m not here because you’re looking ill or anything,” Rae Wooten assured the former U.S. House speaker at Tuesday’s event in North Charleston. A chuckling Gingrich feigned relief. For the embattled White House candidate who’s seen by some as a dead man walking in the crowded Republican field, the encounter may have hit a bit close to home. His aides and advisers resigned en masse in early June. His first campaign finance disclosure report, filed Friday, provided little
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Palin’s fundraising falls way short

The primary fundraising committee for Sarah Palin, who is considering whether to seek the Republican presidential nomination, raised a paltry $1.6 million in the first half of 2011 in a sign that she is not attracting big funds for a presidential run. “That is peanuts,” said Jan Baran, a partner at Wiley, Rein and former general counsel of the Republican National Committee. “It doesn’t signify that there is a reservoir of financial support for her.” The former Alaska governor, who was John McCain’s vice presidential running mate on the Republicans’ unsuccessful 2008 ticket, has said she will decide within months
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Eric Cantor’s tea party terrorism threatens America

To the tea party terrorists who put their extremist agenda ahead of the best interests of the nation, bombastic Virginia Republican Congressman Eric Cantor is a hero of monumental proportions. To opponents, however, Cantor is a political Osama bin Laden, a political bomb thrower who threatens send the financial skyscrapers of the nation’s economy crashing to the ground in a dust cloud of chaos and discord. Even Republicans complain private about Cantor’s antics and leaders of the party gather in small, closed-door groups to discuss how to stop their own majority leader from destroying the party and the nation. Democrats,
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