House Speaker John Boehner shows his softer side Thursday before resuming his tough guy role in the fiscal fight. Evan Vucci/AP hide caption

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Despite all the warning signs, U.S. leaders continue to barrel toward a debt default with no one yet willing to step on the brakes. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio (right) leads members of Congress as they step outside the Capitol on Wednesday to attend a ceremony in remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. With him are House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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As workers prepare the Capitol for Monday's inaugural ceremony, there's word that Congress might not get into another battle over the debt ceiling. Kevin Dietsch /UPI /Landov hide caption

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You'd need a lot of these — think in terms of railroad cars to haul them — to have $1 trillion. Shannon Stapleton /Reuters /Landov hide caption

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White House Details 2013 Cuts If Congress Doesn't Avert Fiscal Cliff

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Episode 273: When The U.S. Paid Off The Entire National Debt

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