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Debt ceiling crisis: another day without resolution as the clock ticks

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“But most also acknowledge that the best way to reduce the deficit is through a combination of cuts in major programs and tax increases,” Pew reported recently. “And a large majority (66 percent) approves of raising taxes on incomes of $250,000 or more to reduce the debt.”

So when Obama talks about “millionaires and billionaires doing their fair share,” he seems to have most of the public with him.

But among all-important independent voters, the debt/deficit issue has become trickier for elected officials concerned about the political fallout of however they vote.

Back in May, independents by a 15-point spread (49-34 percent) told Pew they were more concerned that raising the debt limit “would lead to more spending and bigger debt.” Now, independents are just as likely (45-46 percent) to worry that “not raising it would force a default and hurt the economy.”

Poll-reading lawmakers are moving in that direction as well – particularly when they consider (as CBS News put it) that “credit rating agencies are putting the Treasury Department under the gun as they decide whether to strip the US of its coveted triple-A credit status.”

Both Moody's Investors Service and Standard and Poor's have warned that they could downgrade the country’s triple-A credit rating, and the Washington Post reports that “the Obama administration has mounted an intense behind-the-scenes campaign to keep the nation’s major credit rating companies from issuing threats that they might downgrade the United States over the swelling size of the federal debt.”

"There might be a fringe who believes that playing with Armageddon is a good idea, but I don't think that's where the majority will be,” White House budget director Jacob Lew told CNN’s State of the Union Sunday morning.

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