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4:05 PM ET, July 29, 2011

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 Top Items: 
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
Obama Approval Drops to New Low of 40%  —  Similar to his approval rating for handling the debt ceiling negotiations  —  PRINCETON, NJ — President Obama's job approval rating is at a new low, averaging 40% in July 26-28 Gallup Daily tracking.  His prior low rating of 41% occurred several times, the last of which was in April.
RELATED:
The Note:
Boehner gets standing ovation from Senate Rs  —  ABC News' Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) reports:  —  Speaker of the House John Boehner just quietly ventured over to the Senate side and dropped in on a closed lunch of Senate Republicans.  —  The lunch - pizza, again - was in the Strom Thurmond room.
Jennifer Rubin / Washington Post:
Why no vote tonight  —  A House aide just e-mailed me: “Buckets of crazy.”  That's as good an explanation as any as to why Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) won't be able to hold a vote tonight on his debt-ceiling bill.  The burn-the-building-down set is weakening, but the speaker is still short on votes.
Charles Krauthammer / Washington Post:
The great divide  —  We're in the midst of a great four-year national debate on the size and reach of government, the future of the welfare state, indeed, the nature of the social contract between citizen and state.  The distinctive visions of the two parties — social-democratic vs. limited-government …
The Politico:
Boehner builds momentum  —  House Republican leaders will tie a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution to their two-step debt-ceiling bill — a move that is all but certain to clinch the necessary votes to pass Speaker John Boehner's proposal a day after it stalled.
Douglas Holtz-Eakin / National Review:
Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory  —  Hard to believe what I'm reading, hearing, and watching.  It's a concerted, bipartisan effort to snatch defeat when victory is in sight.  —  Let's start with the House Democrats, who are content to make a political statement and sit on their hands.
The Hill:
Support shifts as Boehner adds balanced-budget amendment  —  House Republicans will attach a balanced-budget amendment to Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) last-ditch debt-ceiling plan, which GOP lawmakers said would move the measure to passage in a high-stakes vote later on Friday.
National / NationalJournal.com:
DOCUMENT: Latest Version of House Speaker Boehner's Debt Plan  —  This is the latest version of the Boehner bill and reflects changes made after GOP leaders failed to assemble the necessary votes to pass it Thursday.  This bill is the current legislative vehicle and may come to the House floor later Friday.
William Kristol / Weekly Standard:
What Boehner Should Do Now  —  Last night, Speaker Boehner toyed with adding a gimmicky balanced budget amendment provision to the Republican budget bill in order to try to get the final handful of votes he needs for passage.  He thought better of this last night, and didn't do so.
Discussion: ThinkProgress
Michael D. Shear / The Caucus:
Democrats Threaten Saturday Night Debt Fever  —  Get ready for Mr. Smith meets the debt ceiling.  —  Senate Democrats said Friday that they were prepared for an all-night battle on the Senate floor that could go into the wee hours of Sunday morning unless Republicans began negotiating on a bipartisan plan to raise the debt ceiling.
Ezra Klein / Washington Post:
Wonkbook: Boehner failed. Now what?
Jennifer Epstein / The Politico:   Obama approval rating hits all-time low, according to poll
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Sen. Reid says he's moving ‘the last train’ to raise the debt ceiling
Cameron Joseph / Ballot Box:
Club for Growth won't fight Boehner plan
Discussion: The Page
Reuters:
With House debt ceiling bill stalled, Harry Reid makes his move
Discussion: Maggie's Notebook and Hot Air
Washington Post:
Obama urges Senate to forge compromise on debt limit, rejects House efforts
Erick Erickson / Erick's blog:
The Worst Negotiators  —  I cannot decide who the worst negotiators …
Discussion: RedState
David Rogers / The Politico:
They're not that far apart  —  As bad as Washington looks …
Discussion: Reuters and Swampland
New York Times:
Obama Calls for Debt Deal as the House Nears a Vote
Discussion: Guardian and Los Angeles Times
Alicia M. Cohn / The Hill:
Tea Party groups target ‘defectors’ on debt vote  —  Several Tea Party organizations are working to punish conservative Republicans who plan to vote yes on Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) debt ceiling proposal.  —  Tea Party leaders announced Thursday they are targeting Republican Reps. James Lankford …
RELATED:
William Yeomans / The Politico:
The tea party's terrorist tactics  —  It has become commonplace to call the tea party faction in the House “hostage takers.”  But they have now become full-blown terrorists.  —  They have joined the villains of American history who have been sufficiently craven to inflict massive harm …
Jennifer Steinhauer / New York Times:
G.O.P. Fervor Cuts 2 Ways for Boehner
Discussion: The Politico
The Note:
The Note: Down The Rabbit Hole: Where Does Congress Go From Here?
Discussion: Roll Call, The Daily Beast and CNN
Lucia Mutikani / Reuters:
Weak growth raises concerns on economy  —  (Reuters) - The U.S. economy came perilously close to flat-lining in the first quarter and grew at a meager 1.3 percent annual rate in the April-June period as consumer spending barely rose.  —  The Commerce Department data on Friday also showed …
RELATED:
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis:
National Income and Product Accounts  —  Gross Domestic Product: Second Quarter 2011 (Advance Estimate)  —  Revised Estimates: 2003 through First Quarter 2011  —  Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States …
Free exchange:
Distress signal  —  IN 2007, the great ship of the American economy began encountering darkening skies.  In 2008, it was suddenly faced with a violent storm which blew it miles off course, well south of where it ought to have been.  The country's leaders didn't know how far from their charted path …
Discussion: AMERICAN FUTURE
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
The Centrist Cop-Out  —  The facts of the crisis over the debt ceiling aren't complicated.  Republicans have, in effect, taken America hostage, threatening to undermine the economy and disrupt the essential business of government unless they get policy concessions they would never have been able to enact through legislation.
Dana Milbank / Washington Post:
John Boehner's no-confidence vote  —  “Get your ass in line,” Speaker John Boehner had told House Republicans who resisted his plan to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a default  —  But really, it was Boehner's butt that was on the line - and late Thursday night, he had it handed to him.
Discussion: Firedoglake
RELATED:
First Read / msnbc.com:
First Thoughts: A game of leverage
Discussion: ThinkProgress and Washington Post
Financial Post:
U.S. balance now less than Apple cash  —  Steve Jobs is now more liquid than Uncle Sam.  —  While it's highly unlikely that President Barack Obama is looking to ask the founder and chief executive of Apple Inc. for a loan, it became a fact as of Thursday afternoon — the world's largest technology company …
 
 
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 More Items: 
Sam Baker / Healthwatch:
Ross backs bill to repeal healthcare tax
Discussion: ThinkProgress
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
‘A self-inflicted wound of monumental stupidity’
Adam Serwer:
The History Of The Racial Wealth Gap
Annie Lowrey / Slate Magazine:
It's Not “Default”
David Lat / Above the Law:
Outstanding Bar Performance: Pregnant Woman Takes Bar Exam While in Labor, Delivers Baby Right After!
Discussion: Althouse
Eli Lake / The New Republic:
All Over the Map  —  The Republican foreign policy consensus has collapsed.
Discussion: ThinkProgress and Hit & Run
 Earlier Items: 
Megan McArdle / The Atlantic Online:
Even Good Government Has Unintended Consequences
Discussion: The Politico and AMERICAblog News
Derek Thompson / The Atlantic Online:
No Growth, No Jobs, and No Help From Washington
Steve Clemons / The Atlantic Online:
The Upside of Default  —  When the sub-prime loan crisis triggered …
Virginia Heffernan / Opinionator:
When Shilling on the Web, Think Small
Monica Potts / American Prospect:
Big Mess  —  A lawsuit against a Utah polygamy law is a nightmare …
Discussion: ThinkProgress
Scott Clement / Washington Post:
Americans split on New York gay marriage law