* Ari Berman on how Obama’s inequality speech today represents his most decisive break yet with the language of austerity Dems embraced for far too long.
* History lesson of the day: E.J. Dionne on how Obama’s reference to Theodore Roosevelt ’s “New Nationalism” neatly captures the various ways progressives at the time were facing the same issues they face today.
* Chris Cillizza on the overlap between Obama’s speech and Elizabeth Warren’s critique of the conservative economic vision, and their respective assertions that we’re all economically interconnected.
* The GOP response: Eric Cantor hits Obama for promoting “government controlled equality of outcomes” that will “put Washington in charge of determining opportunity.”
The battle is coming down to an argument over what constitutes being given a “fair shot.” The fact that both sides are employing similar language about inequality, even if the policy response is vastly different, shows that inequality is dominating the conversation. We’ll be hearing plenty of variations of the argument that Dems want something akin to government-managed equality.
* Newt-mentum!!! Ron Brownstein says polls show that Gingrich is commanding support from an ideologically wider range of voters than Romney, and is better positioned to compete in more states.
* A startling number from the new New York Times poll of Iowa GOPers: Gingrich leads Romney on who is best prepared to be president, 43-20.
* Failed pander of the day: Remember when Romney attacked Newt’s humane opposition to deporting long time illegal immigrants? Jed Lewison notes that polls show Iowa Republicans agree with Newt!
Oh, well. It was worth a try.
* Sam Stein reports that AFSCME will spend $100 million on his reelection, a mark of labor’s quick return to the fold and of how badly Obama needs to win back working class whites.
* An interesting look at how public workers are retiring in higher numbers in states where GOP governors have gone on the attack, with untold governing consequences.
* It looks like that Reuters scoop about Mitt Romney spending state funds to keep his gubernatorial records secret is getting a lot of TV play today, judging by the highlight reel the DNC quickly put together.
* Dave Weigel on Republicans who are suddenly claiming they oppose the payroll tax cut extension because they want to save Social Security.
* Paul Krugman skewers Politico for naming Paul Ryan healthcare policymaker of the year, noting that Politico either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that Ryan only “plays a deep thinker on TV.”
* And another right wing blogospheric fantasy goes “poof” as the CEO of Ford slaps down the bogus conspiracy theory that the White House bullied the company into yanking an ad.
What else is happening?