Washington Daybook: Blame Game

Photograph by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Speaker of the House John Boehner winces while talking to a reporter on the way to a closed-door meeting with House Republicans as he negotiates with President Obama to avert the fiscal cliff, at the Capitol on Dec. 18, 2012.

President Barack Obama continues to enjoy the upper hand in talks with House Speaker John Boehner over avoiding the fiscal cliff as polls show Republicans would take more of the blame if the negotiations fail.

Obama breaks about even on his handling of the negotiations — 45 percent approval, 43 percent disapproval — but that’s far better than Republican leaders in Congress who received a 2-1 negative rating on the issue, an ABC News/Washington Post poll out today shows. The public is also more critical of how Republicans are handling the negotiations, though both Obama and Republicans in Congress received negative marks, according to a CBS News poll.

Obama and Boehner moved closer to a budget deal yesterday after the president lowered his tax revenue demand by $200 billion and offered to start tax rate increases at $400,000 of income instead of $250,000.

Beyond the fiscal cliff, executives from New York Stock Exchange, Euronext, NASDAQ and Credit Suisse testify at a Senate Banking Committee panel hearing today on computerized trading.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta discusses the future of the U.S. military at the National Press Club as the Pentagon begins plans for the possibility of $500 billion in automatic cuts over next decade in case the Obama/Boehner talks break down.

And the Commerce Department is expected to announce final countervailing duties on wind-tower imports from China, just as U.S. Trade Rep. Ron Kirk and Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank welcome a delegation led by Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan to Washington for trade talks.

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