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No more Mr Nice Guy against Republicans

Business Times - 06 Sep 2011


No more Mr Nice Guy against Republicans

Obama should blame them for the political and economic mess in Washington

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

IT HAS been common practice in Washington for more than two centuries: The US president sends a letter to the leaders of Congress in which he asks to be allowed to address the two legislative chambers on matters of national importance. There has never been an instance in which Congress denied the White House's request.

But there is always a first time for everything in Washington. And in a year dominated by nasty political and legislative fights, it was not surprising that even the tradition of an American president addressing a joint session of Congress - reflecting bipartisanship and a sense of national unity and political civility - was going to be challenged.

After Congress had shut down for the summer recess - following the nasty battle over raising the debt limit (and the ensuing downgrading of US cred…