* Is Obama set to announce a recess appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? Think Progress quotes an unnamed source saying it’s in the works.
The White House is not denying the claim and is leaving its options open. CFPB spokesperson Jennifer Howard declined to comment when I asked about the possibility earlier today.
It’s worth speculating that Obama might announce some sort of maneuver to appoint Cordray during his speech tomorrow in Ohio, which would be ideal since it’s a key swing state where Cordray was a well regarded Attorney General.
The move would maneuver Republicans into attacking the appointment, putting them in the position of defending financial institutions against consumers. The resulting outcry would pull the media spotlight back towards Obama’s ongoing high-profile push for the middle class, which the White House hopes to contrast with the GOP candidates’ ongoing attacks on one another. We shall see...
* Must-see charts of the day: Steve Benen produces two that deftly puncture Mitt Romney’s claims about Obama and jobs, nicely framing he question journalists should ask Romney, if they’re so inclined.
* Special bonus must-see chart of the day: Paul Krugman weighs in with another good one neatly illustrating the absurdity of Romney’s claims, and asks:
Does this look to you like a president who “lost jobs”, or like a president who inherited an economy in free fall?
* Mitt Romney seems pretty confident of victory in Iowa tonight, if his plans to do five TV interviews tomorrow morning are any indication.
* The Post team is liveblogging tonight's results right here, and Jonathan Bernstein will have reaction to the outcome later on this blog.
* Joe Trippi, who worked for Howard Dean in 2004 and knows how unpredictable Iowa can be, says you can count on the fact that tonight’s results will be surprising, and tells you what to watch for.
* Gingrich doubles down: Asked why he suggested Romney is a liar earlier today, Newt offers up a beaut: “Because he doesn’t tell the truth.”
* Relatedly, as Benen says, the real story here is not that Newt called Romney out for lying; it’s that reporters won’t do this and are so startled by the allegation, as if it’s somehow out of bounds.
* The next big labor brawl: Indiana state Republicans are moving to bar private unions from seeking contracts that require all workers to pay union fees, a sign that GOPers will not back off their state-level union busting despite the huge defeat in Ohio.
This one is shaping up as yet another referendum on the national conservative drive to roll back union rights across the country.
* Good for Mike Huckabee for being willing to say that Super PACs are “one of the worst things that ever happened in American politics.”
* And your sorely needed Tuesday comic relief: Romney likes to cite “America the Beautiful” to suggest Obama’s critique of inequality is bad for America, but as David Firestone notes, the song was written as a protest of inequality during the Gilded Age.
What else is happening?