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May 16, 2011


The United States is due to hit its $14.3 trillion debt limit today, and tensions are understandably on the increase with Republicans and Democrats wide apart on the budget deal the GOP wants in exchange for increasing the ceiling.

World markets and America’s economic future could be jeopardized if negotiators still have no deal when the Treasury Department runs out of tricks to stave off default.

But do those fears a crisis make?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell suggests not. “Rather than thinking of this as a crisis, I think of it as an opportunity to come together and those talks are under way led by the vice president.”

Those talks are looking for ways to reduce the current annual U.S. budget deficit of $1.4 trillion and the mounting debt. McConnell also says any deal should be reviewed by Wall Street credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s, which has warned it could nix the AAA U.S. debt rating without a credible plan to tackle those pesky fiscal issues.

However, it’s not as if Wall Street and the federal government always see eye to eye, particularly on the regulatory side.

But what does all this mean for the 2012 presidential election?

Hard to tell. But there’s something about Barack Obama that should terrify Republicans: People like him. They really like him.

A new POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground Poll says that 52 percent of registered voters approve of him as president and are open to the idea of re-electing him in 2012. That’s up 7 percentage points since the last battleground poll in October.

And get this. On a personal basis? Seventy-two percent of the 1,000 people polled say he’s a swell guy.

That could make it hard for Republicans to organize public discontent over the economy, given that more than half of poll respondents are open to voting for him again even though 47 57 percent disapprove of his economic job performance.

Why so popular? It may have something to do with what Obama did to Osama.

Obama is also well on his way to becoming the great fund-raising juggernaut of the 2012 campaign. He’s expected to raise a record $1 billion for his re-election.

Meanwhile, it’s hard to find a Republican presidential candidate, or a definite GOP wannabe candidate, who doesn’t have a sizeable challenge to overcome.

But things could change. Two top Republicans tell ABC News that they believe Mitch Daniels is in.

With Mike Huckabee out of the running, signs are that other potential candidates could be moving closer to a run. We should learn today whether Donald Trump remains as the star of NBC reality TV show “The Celebrity Apprentice”.  Meanwhile, Sarah Palin has hired a new foreign policy adviser.

Now why would she do that?

Reuters Photo Credits: Bobby Yip (Credit Cards); Larry Downing (Foreclosure Notice); Athar Hussain (Cash Money); Rick Wilking (Stretch Your Dollar Here); Bobby Yip (Casino Floor); Mario Anzuoni (Job Applicants)

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