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Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., who is close to Boehner, said he doesn’t think the speaker is ready to push any measure that would fail to win the backing of most of his 232 House Republicans. But some Democratic votes eventually will be needed in the 435-seat chamber, Cole said, because some hard-core conservative Republicans are unlikely to vote to end the shutdown or raise the debt ceiling without major concessions from Obama.
"You can’t ask those Republicans to just put their political life on the line for nothing," he said. "They’ve got to be able to go home and say ‘These are the things that I was able to do.’"
Even the Senate chaplain got drawn into the rising intensity of the partisan battle, opening Thursday’s session with an unusually pointed prayer.
"Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable," said Dr. Barry Black. "Remove the burdens of those who are the collateral damage of this government shutdown."
And in a bit of sardonic understatement, Obama’s motorcade passed workers outside an office building holding up a sign that simply asked, "Rough week?"
Associated Press writers Charles Babington, Alan Fram, Nedra Pickler, Connie Cass, Andrew Taylor and Julie Pace contributed to this report.
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