Conservatives warn 2012 field on debt deal

By Steve Peoples

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 2 2011 1:05 a.m. MDT

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., greets Ellie Joy Matthews, 11, of Kansas City, Missouri, as she and her family hold signs supporting a balanced budget amendment just before the House would vote to pass debt legislation on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Monday, Aug. 1, 2011.

Jacquelyn Martin, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

EXETER, N.H. — Conservative groups are warning of lasting political consequences as presidential candidates outline conflicting positions on the debt-ceiling compromise.

Some liken the political impact of the high-stakes fight over the nation's borrowing limit to the debate that preceded the invasion of Iraq. And interest groups promise that presidential candidates' positions will be remembered in the coming months.

As Congress works to avert a fiscal crisis, the political ramifications in the presidential field may be greatest for Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, opposes the compromise deal because it opens the door to military cuts and doesn't include a mandatory balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.

Huntsman is the only Republican candidate to support the deal, which is backed by President Barack Obama and congressional leaders from both parties.

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