Likewise, Tuesday, The Financial Times's Stephanie Kirchgaessner reported that the conservative activist group Americans for Prosperity – backed by the billionaire Koch brothers – also came out in favor of raising the debt ceiling, with a sharp warning that Republicans were losing the messaging battle. Tim Phillips, president of AFP told the paper: "We're saying calibrate your message. Focus on overspending instead of long-term debt."
And the conservative New Hampshire Union Leader editorial page called the debt ceiling the "right fight [at the] wrong time," writing: "The trouble with forcing that standoff is that Republicans cannot win it. Obama will stand firm, and they will have to flinch or shut down the government. Either way, Obama wins and Republicans lose more credibility, which makes it harder to force a showdown on spending on more favorable ground in the future."
The rapidly multiplying calls from conservative groups for the GOP to back down and pick a different fight may have been influenced in part by comments Tuesday from the head of a top credit-rating firm that a repeat of 2011's standoff would lead to the US rating being placed under review, with a "material risk" of being downgraded.