* White House sees political opportunity in deficit fight: Obama is set to do a series of campaign stops this week to promote his vision of deficit reduction. Crucially, the decision is rooted in the White House’s belief that drawing a sharp contrast with the GOP’s vision offers Obama a chance to claim the deficit issue as his own on favorable terms — because public opinion is on his side:
Obama faces a political necessity — claiming the debt issue as his own — and a political opportunity. Recent polls show that Americans disapprove of his record on the deficit. But sizable majorities agree that a combination of spending cuts and tax hikes on the wealthy — Obama’s vision — is the best prescription for the nation’s fiscal malady.
* Geithner boxes in GOP on debt ceiling: A key moment from Tim Geithner’s interview on ABC News yesterday, in which he insists Republicans have privately signaled they know they have to raise the debt ceiling:
“They recognize it, and they told the president that on Wednesday in the White House. And I sat there with them, and they said, we recognize we have to do this. And we’re not going to play around with it.”
Okay, so why not venture a clean bill, then?
Update: Boehner spokesman Michael Steel responds:
“Boehner has been very clear: the American people demand that any increase in the debt ceiling be accompanied by spending cuts, and real reforms so we can keep cutting. They won’t accept another increase in the federal government’s credit card limit without action to addresss the underlying problem of runaway government spending.”
* Debt ceiling battle could divide business leaders from Tea Party: A dynamic to watch: Financial executives are urging freshman House GOPers to get serious and support a debt ceiling hike, another hint that this issue could divide the GOP’s corporate benefactors from the Tea Party base.
ICYMI: How Dems are hoping to use the debt ceiling as a wedge issue.
* But Republicans say some Dems are wary of debt ceiling vote: GOP strategists think they are the ones with the leverage in this debate, because vulnerable Senate Dems are apparently skittish about voting to raise it. Remarkable, if true...
* Another Republican insists tax hikes must be part of deficit talks: We already know that conservative Senator Tom Coburn has been making that case, and as part of the bipartisan “Gang of Six” negotiations, GOP Senator Saxby Chambliss has been making it, too.
With the Gang of Six about to release its deficit reduction proposal, the key question is whether Republicans will accept that additional revenues must be meaningfully part of the solution. If not, the discussion simply isn’t bipartisan — and it isn’t serious, either.
* Gang of Six Dems to surrender on entitlements and spending caps? With talk that the Gang of Six compromise may include changes to Social Security and caps on mandatory and discretionary spending, Steve Benen urges Dems not to give away the store:
By all appearances, Democrats in this group are prepared to effectively give up any hopes of progressive governance for a generation and give in to entitlement cuts, in exchange for tax increases that sane Republicans should consider a no-brainer anyway.
* The self-interested case for tax hikes on the rich: E.J Dionne on how the wealthy and their political enablers have forgotten that they themselves would be better off if they recognized their duty to reform the system that has enabled them to do so well. If Obama makes good on his vow to relitigate the high end tax cut fight — and his speech last week suggests he may do that in big-picture moral terms — things could get very interesting next year.
* Obama won’t be able to retreat on vow to raise high end taxes: Robert Reich says Obama’s speech leaves him no choice but to refuse to budge next year: “His language had a kind of ‘read my lips’ quality that will make it hard to retreat from.”
* The case against civility: Paul Krugman argues that the huge gap between the moral and intellectual universes inhabited by Dems and Republicans makes its incumbent on Dems to take their case to the voters in very, very uncivil terms.
Also: Krugman keeps making the case that the Beltway term “bipartisanship” is often code for whatever consensus can be found between very conservative Dems and far right Republicans.
* Can Dems take back the House? Dems who lost their seats in 2010 are already starting to gear up for rematches, another suggestion that Dems are hoping that Paul Ryan’s proposals to do away with Medicare as we know it could shift the political climate back in Dems’ direction more dramatically than many predict.
* The left needs to press the case against Ryan: Jonathan Cohn on how the left should model its national political response to the Ryan proposals on the right’s campaign against the Affordable Care Act last cycle.
* And climate change denialism is far more dangerous than birtherism: I’m late to this, but check out Fred Hiatt on how birtherism sucks up all the attention even as the GOP’s climate change denialism could potentially prove far more consequential.
Also key in the above link: Tim Pawlenty’s spokesman is now refusing to say whether climate change is caused by human activity — another sign that climate change denialism may be a litmus test issue in the 2012 GOP primary.
Random related question: How long until Donald Trump calls global warming a hoax, and claims he’s hired a team of renowned scientists to prove it?
UPDATE: I should have noted this good catch by Taegan Goddard: NBC executives are not concerned about the fate of Trump’s reality TV show, because they don’t believe he’s going to run.