Washington (CNN) - Right now, some Republican lawmakers in Washington may be wondering how to wiggle out from between a rock and a hard place.
On one hand, they're staring at a possible financial nightmare if the nation's debt limit isn't raised. On the other, many are feeling the heat from tea party demands that bluntly warn: Vote against us and suffer political consequences.
To be sure, Democrats are also under pressure from progressive constituencies who are pushing for more revenue in the form of tax increases - and for them to stand firm against cuts to entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
But over its 2½-year existence, the tea party movement has placed its banner of less government spending at the center of the national conversation. So many activists are watching who's voting on what, even their conservative supporters in Congress - and especially putting the squeeze on moderate Republicans.
What they're saying around the country is, "Do not raise the debt ceiling. It's that simple. It's time for Congress to get its fiscal house in order," Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin told CNN. The group is the nation's largest tea party organization.
Martin explained that her group's supporters want a balanced-budget amendment, significant spending cuts and lower taxes. And they don't want the debt limit raised.
This week, Tea Party Patriots' members and supporters are intensely calling various lawmakers: establishment Republicans, so-called "Blue Dog" Democrats and those freshmen Republicans elected to the House with tea party support.
"I think that it's accurate to call it pressure," Martin said. "The other thing is, we're holding these ... freshmen accountable. A lot of these freshmen ran on the promise that they were not going to increase the debt ceiling. Now, they're in D.C. with all of their colleagues on the Hill. And they're buying into the company line, forgetting about the fact that the American people have elected them not to do that."
For those who vote to raise the debt limit, "The American people are going to watch what they did, watch what happens to the economy and next November, I think there will be consequences," Martin said.
Another major tea party booster echoed the sentiment.FULL STORY
Concord, New Hampshire (CNN) – Newt Gingrich's campaign vehemently denied any wrongdoing following an ABC News report Tuesday that questions business practices between two of his organizations, one a for-profit business and the other a charity.
"Despite all the innuendo in the ABC story, their team of journalists did not find any activity that was not fully supported by the law," the GOP presidential candidate's Communications Director Joe DeSantis wrote in a statement.
The ABC News report said Gingrich's charity, Renewing American Leadership (ReAL) paid $220,000 over two years to Gingrich Communications, one of the candidate's for-profit businesses.
The story also said that the charity "also served as another avenue to promote Gingrich's political views, and came dangerously close, some experts say, to crossing a bright line that is supposed to separate tax-exempt charitable work from both the political process and such profit-making enterprises as books and DVDs."
Blasting back that ABC News put out "baseless insinuations," the Gingrich campaign's DeSantis added that "both ReAL and Gingrich Communications took great care to make sure all resources were being used legally and ethically. Most of the payments from ReAL to Gingrich Communications were to compensate the time of ReAL's part time executive director, who was an employee of Gingrich Communications. This is perfectly normal and common practice."
"The rest was to purchase books, which ReAL used for their fundraising efforts," the statement continued. "The book purchases were made 'at cost' meaning there was zero profit made by Gingrich Communications or Newt on the sale."
The strong statement of denial follows a testy exchange caught on video earlier Tuesday in which Gingrich dodged – then verbally dressed down – a reporter after being repeatedly pressed about the business practices.FULL STORY on the CNN Political Ticker
Washington (CNN) - After setting tongues wagging over the thought of a run for president, launching eye-popping attacks and accusations against the president and other political enemies, openly cursing at more than one political event and even using an interview to name his best orgasm ever, Donald Trump has done it again, essentially firing himself from seeking the top political job in the nation.
On Monday, the real estate mogul announced that he would not run for president.
"After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the presidency," Trump said in a statement. "This decision does not come easily or without regret."
But, Trump added, "I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election," tossing one last scrap of meat to critics who have called the real estate mogul arrogant.
The (at least) three-time White House flirt suggested that, this time around, his heart was not fully in the race. "Business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector."
So did Trump really intend to run this time - or ever?FULL STORY
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