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Obama agenda: Debt-deadline duel

The New York Times: "It was a day of legislative chess moves, back-to-back party caucuses and closed-door meetings that ended with a nationally televised presidential address and a rebuttal by the House speaker, John A. Boehner. Their separate speeches reflected that the two sides are farther apart than ever — just a week ago, the two men were in private negotiations on a 'grand bargain' of spending cuts and additional revenue, what Mr. Obama called 'a balanced approach.'"

Bloomberg News: “President Barack Obama warned of a ‘deep economic crisis’ without a compromise to avert an Aug. 2 U.S. default as he dueled Republican House Speaker John Boehner in back-to-back speeches on increasing the debt limit.”

“President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner squared off on national television Monday night, back-to-back appearances driven by the debt debate and underscoring Washington’s high-stakes political gamble with default— only seven days away,” Politico adds.

And Roll Call also picks up the theme: “President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner held dueling addresses to the nation Monday night, sparring over who is to blame for the stalemate in Washington ahead of next week’s deadline for raising the debt ceiling.”

As does The Hill: “President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) clashed in dueling prime-time speeches as Obama warned against Boehner’s proposal for a short-term increase in the debt ceiling.”

The Boston Globe: “President Obama, reminding lawmakers ‘the whole world is watching,’ exhorted them last night to break through partisan bickering and pass a comprehensive budget deal that protects Americans from the pain of a government default in one week. … A hint of how lawmakers will respond is expected to come as soon as tomorrow. Speaker John Boehner plans to hold a vote in the Republican-controlled House on his two-step approach that would cut spending by $1.2 trillion and allow the government to keep borrowing money for another seven or eight months.” And: “Obama targeted conservative Republicans in the House, blaming them for blocking a balanced deal he and Boehner had been working on…. In an attempt to isolate the Republicans backed by the Tea Party movement, Obama made an unusual appeal: Americans who agree with him should call and pressure their local lawmaker.”

(Here’s the Globe’s breakdown of the competing plans and AP’s timeline.)

AP notes that Obama is skipping several reelection fundraisers because of the debt-ceiling crisis.

The Boston Globe’s editorial page agrees with President Obama (and Sen. Chuck Schumer, who has been making the case for a while) that the Tea Party is to blame: “Too many mainstream conservatives, fearing the appearance of disarray in the GOP caucus, have been unwilling to take on the Tea Party extremists. Those who are keeping quiet now - or pointing fingers at Democrats to create the false appearance that both sides were equally unwilling to compromise - may have miscalculated. Voters cannot forget the damage done by this back-bench attempt to impose an ideology that most Americans reject. And voters should demand accountability not just from the Tea Party, but from those who enabled its utterly irresponsible actions.”

Political Wire: “A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds ‘roughly as many people blame Republican policies for the poor economy as they do Obama. But 65% disapprove of the GOP's handling of jobs, compared to 52% for the president.’”

“The wealth gap between whites and minorities has grown to its widest level in a quarter-century,” AP writes of a Pew study. “The recession and uneven recovery have erased decades of minority gains, leaving whites on average with 20 times the net worth of blacks and 18 times that of Hispanics, according to an analysis of new census data. … It offers the most direct government evidence yet of the disparity between predominantly younger minorities whose main asset is their home and older whites who are more likely to have 401(k) retirement accounts or other stock holdings.”

No politics for Michelle Obama after her and her husband leave the White House. “ ‘The answer is N-O. Period, dot,’ Mrs. Obama said in an interview with AARP The Magazine, on whose cover she will appear for its September/October edition,” per The Hill. “ ‘I think one reason Jill [Biden] and I are comfortable and happy is that we’re doing what speaks to us,’ the first lady said. ‘And what I’ve learned as a woman growing up, getting older, is you’ve got to know who you are. And a politician — it’s never been who I was or wanted to be.’”