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As clock ticks on 'sequester,' Washington runs short on ideas

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House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio slammed the president for putting on a “campaign-style event,” and blamed him for ignoring legislation that has passed the House – a plan that contains “common-sense cuts and reforms” that won’t threaten public safety, national security, or the economy.

“Once again,” Speaker Boehner said, “the president offered no credible plan that can pass Congress – only more calls for higher taxes.”

Last week, an exasperated speaker declared that he was finished trying to reach an agreement with the Democrats in Congress and the White House.

"Frankly, every time I've gotten into one of these high-profile negotiations, you know, it's my rear end that got burnt," Boehner said.

What the speaker didn’t say is that he gets in as much trouble with factions of his own party as with the White House. So it may be that any eventual resolution of the sequester could come down again to two old Senate hands – the Republican minority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky and Vice President Joe Biden, whose years as a senator schooled him in the back-room art of deal-making.

But for now, the klieg lights are on Obama, and he sees the inevitable approaching: The sequester will go into effect, and he is angling for political advantage.

On the broader range of issues, including immigration reform and gun control as well as fiscal matters, the president has faced cries of frustration from bipartisan-minded Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill that Obama is not reaching out to them. The idea is that these senators could provide cover for other Senate Republicans, and eventually Republicans in the House.

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