Some cold water on that “America has never defaulted” talking point… “You hear a perfect record cited over and over in the debt limit debate: The United States has never defaulted,” AP writes. “Better put an asterisk by that. America has briefly stiffed some of its creditors on at least two occasions. Once, the young nation had a dramatic excuse: The Treasury was empty, the White House and Capitol were charred ruins, even the troops fighting the War of 1812 weren't getting paid. A second time, in 1979, was a back-office glitch that ended up costing taxpayers billions of dollars. The Treasury Department blamed the mishap on a crush of paperwork partly caused by lawmakers who — this will sound familiar — bickered too long before raising the nation's debt limit. As Congress again tests the limit, Washington could learn some things from its past. But those periods of missed payments, little noted outside financial circles in their day, are nearly forgotten now.”
ABC/Washington Post poll: “A new high of 74 percent of Americans disapprove of the way the Republicans in Congress are handling Washington’s budget crisis, up significantly in the past two weeks and far exceeding disapproval of both President Obama and congressional Democrats on the issue. The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that criticism of the GOP’s handling of the budget dispute has grown by 11 percentage points since just before the partial government shutdown began, from 63 to 70 and now 74 percent – clearly leaving the party with the lion’s share of blame. Indeed 54 percent now ‘strongly’ disapprove. By contrast, 53 percent disapprove of Obama’s work on the issue, essentially flat since the crisis came to a head and a broad 21 points lower than disapproval of the Republicans. Fewer, as well, strongly disapprove of Obama’s performance, 39 percent.”
President Obama is doing three local TV interviews, though the White House has not said which stations. He also awards a Medal of Honor.
Leon Panetta is not a fan of Obama’s governing style. “This is a town where it's not enough to feel you have the right answers,” he said. “You've got to roll up your sleeves and you've got to really engage in the process.”
Tom DeFrank: “George W. Bush's recent heart problems were far more dangerous than generally believed -- potentially life-threatening, in fact. Sources familiar with the former president's medical situation [said] that a major blockage in a coronary artery discovered during Bush's annual physical exam in August had almost completely shut off blood flow to one of his heart chambers. ‘He was more than 95% occluded,’ an authoritative source said. ‘With a blockage like that in a main artery you're supposed to die. He was pretty lucky they caught it.’”