At dueling press conferences Tuesday, the speaker of the House and the president of the United States said a lot of similar things. Both said they were open to negotiation. Both blamed the other side for the current shutdown and debt-ceiling crisis. Both agreed that the debt ceiling should be raised. The key distinction was this: John Boehner was the one who made the point that the debt ceiling is fair game to use in negotiations, and President Obama was the one who said the debt ceiling has been taken hostage.
And in both press conferences, the speaker and the president characterized the other’s position in a similar manner.
Boehner said of Obama: “So the president’s position that, listen, we’re not going to sit down and talk to you until you surrender is just not sustainable. It’s not our system of government.”
The president said of the Republicans:
I mean, think about it, the only reason that the Republicans have held out on negotiations up until last week or so, is because they thought it was a big enough deal they would force unilateral concessions out of Democrats and out of me. They said so. They basically said, you know what, the president is so responsible that if we just hold our breath and say we’re going to threaten default, then he’ll give us what we want and we won’t have to give anything in return. Again, that’s not my account of the situation.
Though they said it in different ways, each was accusing the other of waiting for a surrender moment. Yes, we can discuss the equivalence of each party’s point of view. But, rhetorically, this is the definition of a stalemate.
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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."