Top 10 Political Stories for 2011: Page 9 of 11

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THE DEBT-CEILING DEBATE

The biggest Capitol Hill story of the year, and a farrago from which no one emerged covered in glory.

Obama missed the chance to lock the GOP into a debt-ceiling agreement when he agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts at the end of last year. That left him in a conspicuously weak spot over the summer as the need to extend the Treasury’s borrowing capacity loomed.

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Obama proceeded to get deeply involved in negotiations with Boehner. Liberals excoriated the president for what they saw as a willingness to give away the store, while centrist voters seemed to hold him at least partly culpable for the eventual failure to strike a grand bargain.

If the debt-ceiling issue was a de facto defeat for Obama it was hardly a clear victory for Republicans. The more doctrinaire members of the GOP conference also had to confront the consequences of their beliefs, in terms of the automatic military-spending cuts that are to be triggered in the wake of the supercommittee’s failure.

Here are The Hill’s choices for the 10 most important political stories of the year:

Bin Laden | Giffords | Dissent
Message? | Economy | GOP's reign
Reid & McConnell | Debt ceiling | The wire | GOP candidates

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