WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says he absolutely will not let Republicans use a debt ceiling crisis to extract deeper federal spending cuts. Congressional Republicans of all stripes say Obama has no choice but to accept the spending cuts they want in exchange for a hike in the national debt limit.

The two sides might reach a mutual agreement before the matter becomes a crisis in March, or possibly late February.

But the tough talk suggests this year's political fight could be even nastier and more nerve-grating than the recent "fiscal cliff" showdown. It revives memories of the 2011 brinkmanship that triggered the first-ever downgrade of the nation's credit-worthiness rating.

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