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Obama Sidelined?

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OBAMA DEBT CEILING

It's no surprise that Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner, went out of their way to insult the president, but remarkably Democrats also went forward over the weekend with Capitol Hill debt talks that did not even include a symbolic emissary from the White House.

After a perfunctory meeting with Barack Obama on Saturday -- a session he had hurriedly called to maintain at least the appearance of leverage -- Democrats and Republicans returned to their caves on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue for the real talks, without anyone from the White House included.

This served to reinforce Boehner's vow to exclude Obama from the discussions. The internal logic of Washington's byzantine protocol indicates a bipartisan snub of the president.

While the GOP obviously would savor a solution to the debt-ceiling crisis that gives Obama no credit, why are Democratic leaders so willing to cut him out?

The answer might be found in growing concerns among veteran Capitol Hill Democrats that their president is a lousy negotiator.

Although they see him as a talented public communicator, his short time as a senator and painfully slow learning curve as president leads congressional Democrats to think it best to take over and provide cover for him once the deal is done.

Also by Craig: The GOP's Political Deficit