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Partisan rhetoric may shrink deficit aspirations

By Andrew Taylor

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, July 9 2011 1:30 a.m. MDT

The Capitol is seen in Washington, Thursday, July 7, 2011. President Barack Obama and Congress' top Republican signaled a new flexibility in budget talks aimed at averting the first-ever U.S. debt default. But a deal remained tenuous, with each side pushing ideas considered untenable by the other.

Alex Brandon, Associated Press

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WASHINGTON — Both President Barack Obama and his GOP rivals are facing dwindling options to slash the deficit after months of angry rhetoric and political posturing.

Hopes of reaching agreement on an ambitious plan to cut spiraling deficits by $4 trillion or more over the coming decade have diminished since a friendly meeting at the White House Thursday. Officials say a smaller, $2 trillion deal now appears more doable.

House Speaker John Boehner says "there are serious disagreements." It's an assessment shared by Obama.

Obama cited a bleak jobs report Friday in hopes of prodding Congress toward a deal.

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