Inauguration drawing near

Posted at: 01/18/2013 3:37 PM
Updated at: 01/18/2013 4:15 PM
By: Steve Handelsman, NBCNC

Washington is almost ready for the inauguration.

Massive security barriers are going into place, along with bleachers along Pennsylvania Avenue for Monday's inaugural parade.

But since a huge crowd, full of hope, saw President Barack Obama's first swearing in America has lowered its expectations.

Only 35 percent of those interviewed in the latest NBC News/Wall St. Journal poll say the country is headed in the right direction.

Obama's approval rating stands at 52 percent, his likeability at 61 percent. And only 29 percent say he's working effectively with Congress, and there's new conflict.

Responding to the president's declaration that he won't negotiate over the debt ceiling, Republicans have backed down.  

They now say they'll raise the borrowing limit, but only for three months.

If Democrats don't agree to a budget of deep spending cuts by April, they'll cut off lawmakers' paychecks.

The White House is looking on the bright side, calling it "encouraging" that Republicans are backing off holding the economy hostage to get drastic cuts in programs like Medicare.