Inside the Beltway

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Question of the Day

What has been the biggest debacle on Obama's watch?

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CORRECTED UPDATE: Press Secretary Jay Carney to hold briefing at 1:00 p.m. EST.”

DOING THE MATH

Go easy now. Don’t want any Democrats swooning. The two-week funding measure passed by Congress is not a bad way to ease the swooners toward $61 billion in budget cuts, increment by increment, million by million.

“The Democrats realize that if they stand against a $4 billion cut against a $3.8 trillion deficit, that is an unsustainable position. We pro-rate these, so this $4 billion is two weeks’ work. If we did four weeks, it would be $8 billion. We’re fine going down that path. It gets us to the same destination,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan during a visit to Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday.

The White House is willing to spring for the $8 billion while House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t consider $4 billion, he noted.

“I definitely see some friction on their side of the aisle on this. What it tells me is that they realize that defending their spending binge is an indefensible position. The Obama ‘freeze’ in the budget is nothing more than a floor designed to lock in their spending levels,” the Wisconsin Republican observed.

DOCTOR’S ORDERS

Journalists and politicians are not the only ones to get frisky with social media. Some physicians who are regular users of Twitter are “disseminating unethical and unprofessional content,” says Dr. Katherine Chretien, associate professor of medicine at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, in research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

She pored over 5,000 tweets from 260 doctors during one month last year, to find that 3 percent included profanity, potential patient privacy violations, sexually explicit material or discriminatory statements.

Uh-oh.

Wait, there’s more. One percent included unsupported claims about a product they were selling on their website or promotions of specific health products; 10 statements countered existing medical knowledge or guidelines, potentially leading to patient harm.

POLL DU JOUR

• 63 percent of Americans say their “sympathies” lie with Israelis rather than Palestinians.

• 80 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of Democrats side with Israelis.

• 74 percent of conservatives and 49 percent of liberals agree.

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