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Obama on debt limits: My daughters do homework on time, why can't Congress?

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Kevin Lamarque / Reuters / File

(Read caption) President Obama and his wife Michelle laugh as they attend the Presidential inaugural prayer service at the National Cathedral in Washington on January 21, 2009.

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A few hours after President Obama’s press conference Wednesday, Republican House Speaker John Boehner accused him of being “AWOL" – absent without leave – on the debt-reduction debate.

Mr. Obama does have a history of leaving details up to Congress. And until last week, it was Vice President Biden who represented the administration in deficit reduction talks with the deputies in the Republican leadership.

Now the principals have taken over. And Obama, in fact, says it’s Congress that’s been AWOL. With a little more than a month to go before the nation reaches the edge of a financial cliff, if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, Obama is calling on his interlocutors on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue to spend more time in Washington.

“If by the end of this week we have not seen substantial progress, then I think members of Congress need to understand we are going to, you know, start having to cancel things and stay here until we get it done,” Obama said. “You know? They’re – they’re – they’re in one week, they’re out one week. And then they’re saying, Obama’s got to step in it.”

At this moment, Obama was at his most animated of the hour-plus press conference. Clearly, the criticism that he hasn’t shown adequate leadership on deficit reduction has reached him.


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