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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Washington (AFP) – President Barack Obama said Monday he was not giving up hope for a deal to avert a shutdown of the federal government in a matter of hours.

“I am not at all resigned” to a shutdown, Obama told reporters when asked about it.

But Obama, speaking as he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said he would not negotiate under the threat of the US government shutting down or defaulting on its debt.

“There’s not a world leader, if you took a poll, who would say that it would be responsible or consistent with America’s leadership in the world for us not to pay our bills,” Obama said.

“We are the foundation of the world economy and the world financial system. And our currency is the reserve currency of the world. We don’t mess with that,” he said.

Obama said he expected to speak later Monday to leaders of Congress, where his Republican opponents are pushing to strip his signature health care reform program in exchange for keeping the government running.

“There’s a pretty straightforward solution to this. If you set aside the short-term politics and you look at the long-term here, what it simply requires is everybody to act responsibly and do what’s right for the American people,” Obama said.

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Some years ago, my wife and I were walking along the edge of horse pasture when a stampede broke out. We heard them before we saw them. Nine big mares—Shire/thoroughbred crosses—went thundering past at a dead gallop, a thrilling and somewhat scary sight.

I knew them all by name, they knew me, and a horse will never trample you on purpose, but these were 1500 pound animals fleeing headlong at 30 mph. The only thing to do was freeze for a heart-stopping moment. As the herd swept past I noticed the two youngest animals at the rear looking back over their shoulders and making eye contact, as if to say: "I don't see anything chasing us. Do you? Why are we running?"

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