The law requires that Americans elect someone President next year, but it’s become impossible to predict if either side can collect the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win. Both President Obama and the growing posse of aspiring Republican candidates appear weak and unfocused, more stumblebums than thoroughbreds.
Republicans and Democrats deny that they want to see a government shutdown, but both parties accuse each other of secretly rooting for one. With the federal government perilously close to shuttering on March 4 if an agreement on spending cuts cannot be reached in Congress, neither side appears prepared to make serious concessions
John Boehner, who often meets the press flanked by a team of deputies, took the podium alone on Thursday. With a week left before the government shuts down April 8, the House Speaker took pains to dispel rumors of a deal.
Across the country, state governments are grappling with how to sharply trim budgets amid the worst recession in decades. But nowhere is that debate more intense than in Michigan, where officials are scrambling to close a $2.8 billion deficit and avert a government shutdown at midnight on Wednesday.