Dems and Republicans Update Faltering Negotiations

Obama Wraps Week With Status Update

"I am willing to work with everybody, including Eric Cantor to solve problems. My relationship with all the leaders has been cordial, it has been professional, but I think at a certain point the American people run out of patience."

-- President Obama in an interview with Philadelphia TV station KYW on Thursday.

The president takes to the microphone again today to bookend the week’s debt negotiations with a second news conference as American patience with the faltering negotiations wears thin. Leaders from both parties are taking break after five straight days of talks so they can get a sense of where their caucuses stand. House Republican leaders are holding a news conference of their own just before the president speaks to put their spin on the situation.

And with the Treasury Department’s August 2 deadline for hitting the debt ceiling approaching, they may be ready to settle on a short-term compromise rather than the long-term deal the Obama administration wants. A deeper deal would have to be voted on by next Friday in order to take effect before the nation hits its debt ceiling.

Obama is expected to give a status update on the negotiations today, but with insider accounts from the meetings flowing much more freely than solutions, the president will likely put a positive spin on what looks like a swing-and-a-miss on a grand debt deal. Sources close to the negotiations indicate the talks are now focusing on a plan-B, modeled on the short-term proposal Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., put forward to give President Obama the power to raise the debt ceiling incrementally through 2012.

But the question remains whether that plan can get the necessary 60 votes in the Senate and 218 votes in the House for passage. Some Tea Party Republicans in the House appear to be holding firm on their pledge to not support the McConnell plan.

A coalition of conservative, Tea Party lawmakers plan to lay out their “Cut, Cap and Balance” plan to the House Republican Conference Friday morning. That bill would tie debt ceiling increases to the passage of a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget and a similar measure has been sponsored in the Senate.

Support among GOP members for a Balanced Budget Amendment has been growing, though it could be a tough climb to get the legislation through Congress.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., says he will gather Democratic votes against a balanced budget amendment. Supporters would need at least 48 Democratic votes to reach the two-thirds majority (218 votes) in the House required to pass the measure.

But the more important question is whether House Republicans will look past the proposed amendment and vote for a compromise plan similar to McConnell’s. For them, the decision may come down to whether the ticking of the debt ceiling clock is louder than the cries of Tea Party conservatives who voted them into office in 2012.

The president’s news conference will offer insight into whether a long-term deal is off the table. But the chatter that fills the halls of the Capitol says a big deal is dead.

Lawmakers have made it clear they don’t want to be summoned to Camp David this weekend to continue negotiations. On Friday, all sides will likely signal that a lesser compromise is on the way. That would more closely mirror Thursday’s “even-keeled” but non-productive meeting, rather than Wednesday’s “childish” theatrics.

Pawlenty Continues to Put Hopes on Iowa

“Gov. Pawlenty will drive 687 miles in an RV next week, stopping in 13 counties and 18 cities to meet with Iowans across the state.”

-- Pawlenty campaign news release on a new Iowa bus tour.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is putting all his eggs in the Iowa basket ahead of August’s Ames Straw Poll that could make or break his bid for the GOP nomination.

The campaign is touting a bus tour that will have the governor spending all next week shaking hands and trying to drum-up grassroots support for his struggling campaign.

Recent Iowa polling shows Pawlenty trailing a surging Michele Bachmann and his campaign is set to announce it raised $4.5 million in the second quarter.

The Pawlenty camp has made a $400,000 ad buy in the Des-Moines/Ames media market, seeking to make sure he is well positioned for the straw poll.

Paul, Romney Campaign in New Hampshire

"This is more evidence that the so-called ‘frontrunners’ from the establishment represent more of the status quo that American voters are tired of, people who benefit from government bailouts on the taxpayers’ dime and seek office to help their buddies do the same."

-- Ron Paul Campaign Manager Jesse Benton talking to the Boston Globe about a 1994 campaign ad that says a Bain and Co. received federal bailout funds while GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney was at the helm.

The race for the 2012 GOP nomination picks up this weekend as a host of candidates fan out across early primary and caucus states.

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, heads to New Hampshire where Mitt Romney holds the advantage, but Paul’s campaign may be ready to go on the attack.

The GOP field has largely been content to hammer away at the Obama administration in the early days of the campaign, avoiding attacks on each other. But news of a 1994 Senate campaign ad charging that a company in Romney’s care took federal bailout money provided Ron Paul’s camp an opportunity to label the frontrunner as a part of the establishment and status quo.

Paul will make several smaller stops in the Granite State this weekend while Romney plans to attend the weekend’s NASCAR race in Loudon.

Meanwhile Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann both plan to campaign in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa. Herman Cain plans to campaign close to home with a stop in Alabama.

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman is staying close to home in Utah to work on his campaign strategy.

And Now, A Word From Charles

“Look, you try to force the issue, Obama is resisting. In the end, do you really want to put us into default? I think neither party does. Therefore in a democracy what you do is you have to punt. And people will decide in November which is exactly how an issue of this magnitude ought to be decided.”

-- Charles Krauthammer on Special Report w/Bret Baier discussing debt and deficit talks.

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Chris Stirewalt is taking some time away from Power Play this week but will return on Monday, July 18.

***Today on “Power Play w/ Chris Stirewalt”: James Rosen talks debt and deficit.  And the Washington Post's "Fact Checker" Glenn Kessler stops by the show.  Tune in at 11:30 am Eastern at http://live.foxnews.com/ ***