Monday, Jan. 7, 2013 | 9:49 a.m.
President Barack Obama says he absolutely will not let Republicans use a debt ceiling crisis to extract deeper federal spending cuts. Congressional Republicans of all stripes say Obama has no choice but to accept the spending cuts they want in exchange for a hike in the national debt limit.
The two sides might reach a mutual agreement before the matter becomes a crisis in March, or possibly late February.
But the tough talk suggests this year's political fight could be even nastier and more nerve-grating than the recent "fiscal cliff" showdown. It revives memories of the 2011 brinkmanship that triggered the first-ever downgrade of the nation's credit-worthiness rating.