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Inside Politics

- - Sunday, July 24, 2011

GOP

Pawlenty: Obama showing no courage in debt crisis

GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty says President Obama is showing no courage in the debt showdown.

"If you're the leader of the free world, would you please come to the microphone and quit hiding in the basement about your proposals, and come on up and address the American people? Is he chicken?" the former Minnesota governor told CNN's "State of the Union."

He said Mr. Obama needs to talk specifically and publicly about where he would cut entitlement programs to reduce the nation's debt. Mr. Obama has been negotiating with congressional leaders in an attempt to raise the government's borrowing limit ahead of an Aug. 2 deadline to avoid a financial default.

"Where's the president of the United States on the most pressing financial challenges of our country on entitlement reform? Where is his specific Medicaid reform proposal? Where is his specific Medicare reform proposal? Where is his Social Security reform proposal?" Mr. Pawlenty asked.

"The answer is, he doesn't have one. You can't find him publicly talking about that. He's ducking, he's bobbing, he's weaving. He's not leading, and that's not the kind of president we need, and that's why he needs to be removed from office."

Mr. Pawlenty himself has been criticized for not being aggressive enough in his 2012 campaign.

TREASURY

Geithner says economy may have slowed

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner says the economy may have slowed during the second quarter of the year, but he's looking for it to pick up.

The economy grew at a rate of 1.9 percent from January to March. The April-to-June figures for the gross domestic product aren't yet in, but some economists have forecast them to be lower.

Mr. Geithner said growth for the first half of 2011 will probably come in at 2 percent, perhaps even slightly lower.

He blamed slow growth on rising oil prices, bad weather, the nuclear crisis in Japan, and tight budgets for local and state governments. He also said the specter of a government default is taking a toll.

Mr. Geithner spoke on "Fox News Sunday" and CNN's "State of the Union."

OREGON

Wu talks with Pelosi about sex allegation

PORTLAND — Rep David Wu's spokesman says the embattled congressman had a telephone conversation with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi about a young woman's reported accusation of an "unwanted sexual encounter."

Spokesman Erik Dorey would not comment on the substance of the conversation.

The discussion follows a report by the Oregonian that a young woman from California accused the seven-term Democratic congressman of an unwanted sexual encounter in November after his election victory.

The newspaper also reported that Mr. Wu told his senior aides the encounter was consensual.

Calls have been growing for Mr. Wu to address the allegation. There have also been calls for him to resign.

DNC

Ex-Democratic Party Chairman Manatt dies

Charles T. Manatt, a former Democratic National Committee chairman and ambassador during the Clinton administration, has died, his law firm said Saturday. He was 75.

Mr. Manatt was party chairman from 1981 to 1985, the first term of Republican Ronald Reagan and a difficult period for Democrats. A longtime California Democrat, Mr. Manatt was credited with building the party's finances, modernizing it through computerization, direct mail and other initiatives, and building a new headquarters in Washington.

On the eve of the 1984 Democratic convention in San Francisco, presidential nominee Walter Mondale tried to replace Mr. Manatt with Jimmy Carter administration official Bert Lance. Mr. Mondale backed off after an outcry within the party, triggered in part by Mr. Manatt's positive reputation in the ranks and Mr. Lance's ties to a banking scandal for which he had been tried and acquitted. Mr. Reagan cruised to an easy victory over Mr. Mondale for a second term.

Mr. Manatt and the party fared better in 1992, when he was co-chairman of Mr. Clinton's presidential campaign. Mr. Clinton later appointed Mr. Manatt as ambassador to the Dominican Republic, where he served from 1999 to 2001.

From wire dispatches and staff reports