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Dueling press conferences; PR battle rages in Congress on debt ceiling

Senate Republicans are touting their 11:30 am ET press conference on a Balanced-Budget Amendment as a counter to President Obama's East Room press conference today. Republicans contend they are offering responsible solutions to the deficit crisis while the President is arguing for more taxes and more spending.

"He's going to be talking about raising taxes; we're going to be talking about a balanced budget," said one GOP aide.

Another GOP aide added, "At the same time the president explains to reporters why he thinks taxpayers should take the hit, a large group of Senate Republicans will be fighting to make the government balance its budget instead."

The balanced-budget amendment faces an uphill battle, because it would need a two-thirds majority for passage, as Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) indicated on the Senate floor this morning.

Also on the floor this morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell showed no signs of compromise. Calling the debate on the debt ceiling "illuminating" and Democrats' position "astonishing," he slammed the president for going to a manufacturing plant in Iowa yesterday to "tout jobs" and then "looking to saddle manufacturing companies with billions of dollars in new taxes"

"This isn't a negotiation, it's a parody," he said. "He can't call for tax hikes and jobs creation; its one or the other."

McConnell said Democrats had to be "held accountable," contending they had mismanaged the "national checkbook."

"Democrats want a bailout from the taxpayers," he said. He went on: "Democrats' spending spree has brought us to the brink of economic calamity."

He said this argument is about "spending trillions more than you have and expecting someone else to pick up the tab," "not about rich versus poor."

The irony, however, is that a substantial portion of the debt and deficits are the Bush tax cuts, two unfunded wars, and Medicare Part D.

McConnell acknowledged spending has been a bipartisan affair.

"No one denies that both parties are guilty of spending beyond our means," McConnell said, before claiming, "But this White House has taken wasteful spending to new heights."