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Obama Has 'High Ground' in Deficit Fight

But he'd better watch out for Eric Cantor
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2011 10:12 AM CDT
EJ Dionne: President Obama Has the 'High Ground' in Deficit Debate; Faces Challenge from Eric Cantor
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. looks on as President Obama meets with Congressional leaders regarding the debt ceiling, Wednesday, July 13, 2011.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – President Obama has “called Republicans’ bluff on the debt,” writes EJ Dionne in the Washington Post. With a little help from Eric Cantor, Obama has shown that Republicans’ top goal has nothing to do with the deficit—instead, they want to maintain low taxes on corporations and the rich. “Even the most resolutely centrist and cautious have been forced to concede this essential truth of American politics,” writes Dionne. Now, Obama “occupies the high ground in the debt-ceiling debate.” But there's peril ahead.

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Best case scenario for the president: John Boehner re-takes the reins and we get “a deal with enough cuts to satisfy a majority of Republicans and enough revenue to win over a sufficient number of House Democrats.” The “worrisome” alternative: Majority leader Cantor calls for every spending cut that Obama earlier considered in the context of a bigger agreement. Cantor “was shrewd to get the administration talking early about cuts in domestic spending and to put a lot of its cards on the table. He can now play those cards against Obama by forcing the president to reject” those reductions, concludes Dionne, thus ending talks with "the bang they are looking for" which "could yet cause a lot of collateral damage." (Read more President Obama stories.)

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