- Parties still divided on debt negotiations (Meet the Press, msbnbc) With no deal in sight and political gridlock inside the Beltway, our roundtable addressed this question: Is Washington broken?
- Michael Bloomberg warns of D.C.'s 'leadership deficit' - 'Our national leaders need to stop staring down the other side,' said Michael Bloomberg. (By REID J. EPSTEIN, Politico)
- Dreck ceiling: Bloomberg's centrist shtick is getting old, and dangerous (By Steve Kornacki, Capital New York) Never mind that this belief is utter nonsense, stemming from a fundamental misunderstanding of what the growing number of independent voters means. (Short version: Partisan behavior is actually on the rise, even if voters prefer to think of themselves as "independents.") A fair chunk of the pundit class is convinced it's true and has convinced itself that Bloomberg possesses the special formula that will break the D.C. logjam that both parties have contributed equally to. They never explain how he would do this, and neither does he.
- GOP Pollsters Say Obama Must Pull Voters Back from Brink of Anger - Conservative advocacy and polling group Resurgent Republic's Ed Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee Chairman, and Ed Goeas, a veteran GOP pollster, argue independents like President Obama but don't believe he's made the economy better. (By Dave Cook, Christian Science Monitor)
- Obama achieves new levels of political demagoguery (By Michael Hudome, The Daily Caller - founded by Tucker Carlson) From Obama’s perspective, the proverbial electoral elephant in the room isn’t any of the GOP candidates for president. It’s the specter of a primary from the left. Don’t think for one minute that isn’t on the minds of the president’s political brain trust. A president with his low approval numbers is ripe for the picking. Imagine the message Independent voters in New Hampshire could send to the president and America by voting for a viable alternative.
- Our stupid self-inflicted debt crisis (By John Avlon, CNN) But the blame for this stage of failure lies squarely on the party that unilaterally withdrew from the talks -- and that's the Republicans… Independents voted for Republicans in the 2010 midterm elections because they wanted checks and balances; they wanted to reduce deficit and debt spending. But they did not vote for dysfunctional government, and they certainly did not vote for default. The polls showing that independent voters say they will blame Republicans more than Democrats for a U.S. default reflects this disconnect.
- Poll: US voters blame Republicans, Obama on jobs (Reuters) Obama receives higher marks from independent voters than Republicans when it comes to jobs, but appeasing supporters in his own party could be a bigger challenge.
- Obama, Boehner: Speechs without solutions (By Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun Times) Obama zoned in on the Tea Party freshmen in Congress, though not by name. "I realize that a lot of the new members of Congress and I don't see eye-to-eye on many issues. But we were each elected by some of the same Americans for some of the same reasons." Obama's message: The independent voters who sent Obama to the White House were also some of the people who voted for them. And they can be switch hitters again.
- Cool Obama meets hot Boehner in dueling debt ceiling speeches (By Chris Cillizza, Washington Post/The Fix) Obama was aiming at the political middle — unaffiliated and independent voters who are seen as the most critical voting bloc heading into 2012. Those voters prize compromise and bipartisanship above any single issue and Obama repeatedly drove that message home.
- A ‘Unique Opportunity’ on the Debt Ceiling, Lost (By JACKIE CALMES, NY Times) And while Mr. Obama also seeks to appeal to independent voters who make the difference in presidential elections, many Democrats complain he is too willing to compromise, potentially disillusioning their party’s voters and muddying the case against Republicans for proposing much deeper entitlement program cuts. Mr. Boehner’s problem is that some otherwise persuadable Republicans worry less about the general election than party primaries, and fear they could draw a conservative rival by supporting a deal with Mr. Obama.
So, who's to blame for the debt lid gridlock in Washington? "The Early Show on Saturday Morning" put together a panel of independent voters to address the question.