Obama: Halt '3-Ring-Circus' of Debt-Limit Debate

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WASHINGTON - Decrying a "partisan three-ring circus" in the nation's capital, President Barack Obama criticized a newly minted Republican plan to avert an unprecedented government default Monday night and said congressional leaders must produce a compromise that can reach his desk before the Aug. 2 deadline.

"The American people may have voted for divided government, but they didn't vote for a dysfunctional government," the president said in a hastily arranged prime-time speech. He appealed to the public to contact lawmakers and demand "a balanced approach" to reducing federal deficits.

Obama stepped to the microphones a few hours after first Republicans, then Democrats drafted rival fallback legislation Monday to avert a potentially devastating government default in little more than a week.

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Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Associated Press

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