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Can Obama salvage stalled debt limit talks?

Struggling to break a perilous deadlock, President Barack Obama took direct control Friday of national debt-limit negotiations with both Republicans and Democrats. With the White House warning the nation’s economic stability is at stake, it’s one of the most severe tests yet of Obama’s presidency. The key disagreement is over taxes. Democrats, including Obama, say a major deficit-reduction agreement must include tax increases or the elimination of tax breaks for big companies and wealthy individuals. Republicans are demanding huge cuts in government spending and insisting there be no tax increases. Absent an agreement that cuts long-term deficits, Republicans say they
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Romney, Bachmann lead GOP field in Iowa poll

Republican front-runner Mitt Romney and U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann led a closely watched presidential poll of Iowa Republicans, the state that holds the first contest in the nomination battle. The Iowa caucuses, often held on a frigid winter night that can limit turnout to those most committed, often serves to winnow the field of candidates. Whoever captures the nomination in the unsettled Republican field is expected to challenge Democratic President Barack Obama in the November 2012 general election. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, led the poll of likely caucus-goers with 23 percent, followed by 22 percent support for Bachmann, who
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House rebukes Obama on Libya war

Challenging presidential power, a defiant U.S. House voted overwhelmingly Friday to deny President Barack Obama the authority to wage war against Libya. But Republicans fell short in an effort to actually cut off funds for the operation in a constitutional showdown reflecting both political differences and unease over American involvement. In a repudiation of their commander in chief, House members rejected a measure to authorize the Libya mission for a year while prohibiting U.S. ground forces in the North African nation, a resolution Obama had said he would welcome. The vote was 295-123 with 70 Democrats abandoning the president just
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Cantor walks out on budget talks

Efforts to find a bipartisan agreement blending huge budget cuts with a must-pass measure to increase how much the government can borrow have entered a new phase after Republican negotiators pulled out of talks led by Vice President Joe Biden. The exit of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor from the talks on Thursday means the most difficult decisions have been kicked upstairs to GOP House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and President Barack Obama. The Biden-led group had made solid progress in weeks of negotiations but was at an impasse over taxes. Cantor, R-Va., said that the Republican-dominated House simply
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Bin Laden wanted to improve al-Qaida’s image

As Osama bin Laden watched his terrorist organization get picked apart, he lamented in his final writings that al-Qaida was suffering from a marketing problem. His group was killing too many Muslims and that was bad for business. The West was winning the public relations fight. All his old comrades were dead and he barely knew their replacements. Faced with these challenges, bin Laden, who hated the United States and decried capitalism, considered a most American of business strategies. Like Blackwater, ValuJet and Philip Morris, perhaps what al-Qaida really needed was a fresh start under a new name. The problem
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Democrat’s nightmare: ‘Let’s make a deal’ Obama

As negotiations on raising the debt limit go down to the wire, House Democrats claim their real problem isn’t hardline Republicans or even the gaggle of tea party freshman. Their real problem lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: President Barack Obama and his willingness to make a deal with the GOP leadership. Liberal House Democrats grumble that Obama is too willing to cut deals that destroys the goal of the party. “What I’m concerned about — it’s not that I don’t trust them — is they [the White House] figure ‘Let’s get this thing the hell out of the way, and
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Democrats push spending, tax cuts

In a sharp role reversal, Democratic leaders in Congress Wednesday called for both spending and tax cuts as a way to jump start the sagging economy but their conversion to spending less comes when a new report claims the nation faces more of a debt crisis unless taxes are raised. The Congressional Budget Office report warns America faces a “European-style” debt crisis unless taxes are raised along with sharp spending cuts and adds more pressure on Congressional negotiators who are trying to work out a deal to raise the debt limit before the government runs out of money. Which creates
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Obama plans withdrawal of 33,000 troops from Afghanistan by next year

President Barack Obama, facing growing public and political opposition to an Afghan war that has become his Vietnam, announced Wednesday night that he will withdraw 33,000 U.S. troops from the war-torn country by September 2012 — with 10,000 scheduled to come home by the end of this year.   While the number appears significant, it will still leave 68,000 Americans on combat duty in Afghanistan. In a short, but highly-anticipated speech to the nation, Obama went against the advice of military leaders who want a more gradual withdrawal of troops but the President faces dwindling support in polls that show
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Palin, facing jury duty, puts bus tour on hold

Sarah Palin has suspended her highly-touted bus tour but claims it will resume “when the time comes.” Disputing online reports that the bus trip to historic American sites was canceled because of disappointing crowds and bad press, Palin claims the “One Nation” tour is simply on hold because of a tight schedule and a call for jury duty. Palin, the failed 2008 vice presidential candidate who resigned as Alaska governor before her term was up to cash in on her new-found popularity, continues to play it coy on her plans for the 2012 GOP Presidential nomination.
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Are Republicans at war with women?

An early skirmish for women’s votes in 2012 has broken out in the House — among women. A prominent Democrat fired the first shot by claiming that majority Republicans are waging a “war on women.” And now, Republican women are returning fire by raising their profiles, making clear what they stand for and, implicitly, who they are not: Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. Neither of the GOP’s most visible women rated a mention by a series of House Republican women who on Tuesday defended their party against Democrats. Bachmann, a three-term congresswoman, presidential candidate and chairwoman of the Tea Party
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