* Obama hints he’ll come out for gay marriage in second term: In one sense, as many news outlets are reporting, Obama did sidestep the issue at the gay-themed fundraising event last night. But it seems to me that Sam Stein is the only one who noticed the really newsworthy quote from the President:
“Yes we have more work today. Yes we have more progress to make. Yes I expect continued impatience with me on occasion,” said the president. “With your help, if you keep up the fight, if you will devote your time and your energies to this campaign one more time, I promise you we will write another chapter in that story.”
Given the context — he was in New York, where gay marriage is on the verge of becoming legal, and he alluded directly to his audience’s impatience with him — the most plausible interpretation here is that he is appealing for gay support in 2012 in exchange for the tacit assurance that he’ll come out for gay marriage in his second term.
Amid the continuing controversy over his “evolving” position on gay marriage, this seems like a pretty clear effort to convert a problem that had been dampening the enthusiasm of gay advocates into another reason to work for his reelection.
* Still inching forward in New York: The state senate didn’t hold the vote late last night as planned, and negotiators were still adding last minute protections for religious organizations in order to win the one last vote they need.
Key quote from one undecided GOP senator: “I’m working on it. I’ll get there soon.”
* House to confront Obama over Libya today: In a big symbolic move, the House of Representatives is expected to vote today to restrict funding for the unauthorized Libya operation. While the measure won’t pass the Senate, the vote, which is expected to attract significant Democratic support, will stand as a significant statement against the right of presidents to wage war at their convenience without any regard for checks and balances.
* White House losing Dem support on Libya: Obama officials engage in a last ditch, but seemingly futile, effort to persuade House Dems not to vote for the Libya resolution, a sign the White House doesn’t want to be embarrassed by a lack of Dem support for its position.
* Tea Party chieftain puts GOP on notice: Jim DeMint warns Republicans that they’ll be swept out of office by a wrathful Tea-infused electorate if they vote to raise the debt ceiling.
With the debt ceiling talks in limbo, this is a pretty good indicator that Republicans will need to extract major concessions from Dems if they are going to have any prayer of appeasing Congressional conservatives.
* Cantor’s walkout not a sign of any split with Boehner: Dems are eagerly pushing the storyline that Cantor’s exit from the deficit talks means he’s throwing John Boehner under the bus. But it seems far more likely that this is part of a coordinated effort to draw Obama into the talks and to deal with the intense pressure they are under from the right to wring maximum spending cuts out of Dems.
* What are Republicans willing to compromise on in deficit talks? Now that Dems have agreed to $2 trillion in cuts, the question is this: What, if anything, are Republicans willing to give up to reach a compromise?
Relatedly, Steve Benen comments:
As far as GOP leaders are concerned, they picked the game, so they also get to pick the rules. Republicans choose the policy goal (debt reduction); Republicans choose the solution (massive spending cuts); Republicans choose what gets taken off the table (tax increases); Republicans choose what Democrats are permitted to propose; and Republicans choose when the negotiations end.
* GOP claim about Medicare is rated “false”: PolitiFact pronounces the NRSC’s claim that Dems cut Medicare by $500 billion to be “false.” The merits of the claim aside, the key point here is that Republicans will continue to muddy the Medicare waters by attacking Dems from the left, particularly if they agree to major Medicare cuts in the deficit talks.
* The assets and liabilities of the 2012 GOP contenders: This piece is a quick way to get up to speed on what many GOP strategists really think of the pluses and minues of each of the 2012 candidates.
* Yes, Obama believes in gay marriage: David Remnick, who wrote an exhaustively researched biography of the President, says there’s no doubt in his mind about what Obama really believes.
* But no one in the 2012 GOP field believes in it: As Jonathan Capehart notes, Jon Huntsman deserves credit for being the only 2012 GOP hopeful who will dare embrace civil unions — but even he acknowledges this is “subordinate” to marriage.
* And the heresy of the day: Courtesy of Harold Meyerson:
A heretical idea has entered the national discourse: Maybe some other nations handle their economies better than we do.
I wasn’t aware that this idea had entered the national discourse, but maybe it should be seen as a legitimate topic of conversation.
What else is happening?