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The entire Senate Democratic caucus -- including independents Joe Lieberman (CT) and Bernie Sanders (VT) -- have a succinct message for House Speaker John Boehner: cram it!

In a Wednesday letter, the Democrats seek to prove what Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has been saying for days: nobody in his party will vote for Boehner's debt limit plan, and he should stop claiming it's a viable solution to the looming default crisis.

"With five days until our nation faces an unprecedented financial crisis, we need to work together to ensure that our nation does not default on our obligations for the first time in our history," the Dems write. "We heard that in your caucus you said the Senate will support your bill. We are writing to tell you that we will not support it, and give you the reasons why. A short-term extension like the one in your bill would put America at risk, along with every family and business in it. Your approach would force us once again to face the threat of default in five or six short months."

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Herman Cain had his much-ballyhooed meeting with Muslims Wednesday, and he emerged, he said in a campaign statement "humble and contrite for any statements I have made that might have caused offense to Muslim Americans and their friends."

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Democrats on Tuesday fought off an attempt by Republicans in the North Carolina House to override Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue's veto of a voter ID bill passed by the GOP-controlled state legislature last month.

A party line 67-52 vote left Republicans five votes short of overriding Perdue's veto, the Associated Press reported. But one Republican made a parliamentary maneuver that will allow Republicans to bring the issue up again.

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House GOP leaders spent Wednesday afternoon trying to smooth over deep divisions in their party that erupted into public view after a heated conference meeting in which Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (OH) was dressed down for an aide's attacks on Speaker John Boehner's (OH) debt-limit proposal.

During the morning meeting, Jordan professed not to know about his top staffer's e-mails to outside conservative groups complaining about Boehner's proposal and urging the groups to launch coordinated assaults on the plan and its lack of a balanced budget component.

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The Herman Cain campaign has a Muslim problem: Try as it might to promote the candidate's business acumen and fiscal credentials, Cain's interest in Islam keeps getting in the way.

That may be changing.

Cain dropped by Capitol Hill today to speak at a tea party rally on behalf of the Republican Cut, Cap and Balance plan. As Politico reports, he was denied his scheduled speaking slot on stage. But the generally affable Cain wandered around for half an hour or so, taking questions from reporters on all manner of topics -- except his upcoming meeting with Muslim leaders.

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During the health care debate, Tea Party groups mobilized thousands of members to rally against the bill right on lawmakers' doorsteps in Washington, DC. Now the movement is again at a crossroads as Republicans struggle over how far they're willing to push Democrats on spending cuts before raising the debt ceiling.

You wouldn't know it, however, from their rally on Wednesday.



Despite featuring Tea Party icons Sens. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Rand Paul (R-KY), among others, a gathering outside the Senate organized by the Tea Party Express to urge Republicans to stand firm against a compromise bill drew only a handful of attendees.

Reporters, many of whom came to interview presidential candidate Herman Cain, appeared to easily outnumber protesters. And despite being the most prominent attendee, Cain ended up not addressing the crowd and instead watching from the sidelines.



The dismal showing comes as Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations are waging an aggressive campaign against a plan by Republican leaders to raise the debt ceiling with a two-tiered set of cuts and no promise of a balanced budget amendment.

While the proposal by Speaker Boehner looked to be in serious jeopardy on Tuesday, especially after the CBO found it reduced the deficit less than its backers hoped, the bill appears to be gaining some momentum Wednesday as rank and file members push back against the hardline insurgents.

Conservative advocates opposed to House Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) debt limit plan aren't relenting just because GOP leadership is twisting arms.

Club for Growth president Chris Chocola, and Red State founder Erick Erickson are both continuing to push House Republicans to vote against Boehner's plan when it comes to a vote on Thursday. Indeed, they're opposed to any plan that doesn't guarantee vast spending reductions, and allow conservatives to declare victory in a decades long fight over the propriety of federal safety net programs.



"That's why groups like the Club for Growth and others oppose the Boehner debt reduction plan, the Reid debt reduction plan, the McConnell debt reduction plan (has there been an Obama debt reduction plan?), and any other plan that does not include those basic tenets," Chocola writes in a Wednesday afternoon Politico op-ed. "Even newspapers like the Wall Street Journal that support the Boehner plan point out that 'It's true that the Boehner plan doesn't solve the long-term debt problem.'"

Erickson -- an influential figure among House conservatives -- is taking names.

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by Paul Kiel, ProPublica

GMAC, one of the nation's largest mortgage servicers, faced a quandary last summer. It wanted to foreclose on a New York City homeowner but lacked the crucial paperwork needed to seize the property.

GMAC has a standard solution to such problems, which arise frequently in the post-bubble economy. Its employees secure permission to create and sign documents in the name of companies that made the original loans. But this case was trickier because the lender, a notorious subprime company named Ameriquest, had gone out of business in 2007.

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