The former House speaker began his career as a history professor at West Georgia College. "He thought he could have some kind of impact, to get kids to think," says a friend and former colleague. "But he really wanted to get into politics."
Lawmakers have spent much of this year struggling to reach a deal that could get budget deficits under control. But the problem has been developing for at least a decade. In 2000, there was a $200 billion surplus.
Pressure is mounting against Alabama's "toughest in the nation" immigration law. Nearly 3,000 immigrants converged Monday night on a church with strong ties to the civil rights movement. They heard from democratic members of Congress who vowed to get the law repealed.
The supercommittee's failure to reach a budget deal had been predicted for days, even weeks. And now leaders in Washington cannot agree on who is to blame, or what should happen next. President Obama said he would veto any effort to get rid of the automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending.
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