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FROM THIS EPISODE

Nobody knows what the first default in US government history might look like, and it might take until the Midnight hour Tuesday before the world knows whether it's going to happen. We get the latest from Washington and ask what Americans are thinking around the country. Also, jobless claims fall to a three-month low and stocks are up despite the debt standoff. On Reporter's Notebook, another partisan split — over "Fast and Furious," the effort to track gun smugglers that went wrong. Republicans want head to roll; Democrats are defensive.

Banner image: Religious and civil leaders stage a civil disobedience protest relating to the debt limit impasse in the US Capitol Rotunda July 28, 2011 in Washington, DC. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Producers:
Katie Cooper
Karen Radziner
Sonya Geis

Making News Jobless Claims at 3-Month Low, Stocks Up Despite Debt Standoff 7 MIN, 37 SEC

The Debt ceiling was expected to drop markets down, but they're still on the upswing after a three-day slump. Peter Cook is chief Washington correspondent for Bloomberg TV.

Guests:
Peter Cook, Bloomberg TV

Guest Interview ATF under Fire 5 MIN, 30 SEC

Republicans have been highly critical of "Operation Fast and Furious," a federal operation that lost track of firearms purchased by suspected gun smugglers. Some of the weapons have turned up in the wake of shootings in Mexico. Now Democrats are fighting back on behalf of high level Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officials who claim they didn't know much about the tactics employed by the operation. At a Congressional hearing yesterday, ATF agents said they tried to blow the whistle on the operation. Evan Perez covers the Justice Department for the Wall Street Journal.

Guests:
Evan Perez, Wall Street Journal (@evanperez)

Main Topic How Does Gridlock Look from Outside the Beltway? 37 MIN, 35 SEC

As the debt-ceiling deadline looms, House Speaker John Boehner has been challenged by his own Republican majority. After re-working his plan for spending cuts and reducing the deficit, he held a news conference early this afternoon, telling reporters, "When the House takes action today, the US Senate will have no more excuse for inaction." A few hours before that, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said of the Boehner plan, "There is no question that this bill is a political act that has no life beyond its current existence in the House." Have Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill and at the White House lost touch with the American people?  Does the President look like a weak leader? Do Republicans look like they’re out to get him?  Do voters worried about their 401(k)’s wish a plague on both houses? We talk with reporters and other observers in different parts of the country.

Guests:
Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times
David Yepsen, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute (@DavidYepsen)
Wayne Bennett, TheFieldNegro.com (@fieldnegro)
Bruce Cain, University of California Washington Center
Scott Huffmon, Winthrop University (@winthroppoll)
Wayne Slater, Dallas Morning News (@WayneSlater)

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