Paul Ryan accuses Obama of making ‘straw man’ argument

January 22, 2013

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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

* The House plans to vote Wednesday on a measure that would leave the debt ceiling intact but suspend it until mid-May,. and would pressure Senate Democrats to move toward passing a budget blueprint. The White House said it won't oppose it; neither will the anti-tax Club For Growth. And a small clutch of conservative lawmakers said they will also go along with the plan.

* House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) accused President Obama of attacking “straw men” on the issue of entitlements in his second inaugural address. “No one is suggesting that what we call our earned entitlements -- entitlements you pay for, like payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security -- are putting you in a ‘taker’ category,” Ryan said in an interview. He added: "It's kind of a convenient twist of terms to try and shadowbox a straw man in order to win an argument by default.”

* Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) likened Newark Democratic Mayor Cory Booker's decision to explore a Senate bid to the action of a disrespectful child. "I have four children, I love each one of them. I can't tell you that one of them wasn't occasionally disrespectful, so I gave them a spanking and everything was okay," the senator said in an interview. Lautenberg turns 89 on Wednesday, and hasn't yet said whether he is running for reelection  Booker, meanwhile, has filed papers for a Senate run, which he says he's still exploring. Lautenberg said Booker is "entitled" to explore a Senate run, but added, "He'll have to stand on his record, and I'm sure he won't be a lone soldier out there drooling at the mouth and wanting this cushy job that we have here."

* Rep. Debbie Wassermann Schultz (D-Fla.) was unanimously  reelected as chair of the Democratic National Committee on Tuesday

WHAT YOU SHOULDN'T MISS:

* Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) has set aside June 4 as the date of the special election in Missouri's 8th District, where Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R) will resign at the end of the day. Local party committees will choose nominees for the election. The district leans heavily Republican, so it's widely expected to remain in GOP hands.

* Former Dallas Cowboys QB and Hall of Famer Roger Staubach donated $3,800 to New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie's campaign. Despite his New Jersey roots, Christie is a Cowboys fan (!).

* Later this evening, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre will respond to Obama's inaugural address at the Weatherby Foundation International Hunting and Conservation Awards. In his remarks, LaPierre will "aggressively challenge Obama’s reference to 'absolutism,'" the NRA said.

* The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee used Inauguration weekend to touch base with potential recruits, who met with DCCC Chairman Steve Israel. According to a DCCC source, businessman Michael Sherzan, whom Democrats are talking up as a potential challenger to Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa) -- met with Israel, as did former Colorado House speaker Andrew Romanoff, who may challenge Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), and Democratic National Committeewoman Erin Bilbray-Kohn, who might run against Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.).

* Americans for a Strong Defense, an anti-Chuck Hagel group, is spending about $271,000 on an ad campaign targeting the votes of some of the Senate's most vulnerable Democrats facing reelection in 2014. The ad encourages viewers to press their senators to vote against confirming Hagel as defense secretary. The ad campaign targets Democratic Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska), Mary Landrieu (La.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Mark Udall (Co.), all of whom are set to face voters in 2014. The Udall spot also encourages viewers to call fellow Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who chairs the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm.

THE FIX MIX:

Obama and Vice President Biden bring sexy back.

With Aaron Blake

Sean Sullivan covers national politics for “The Fix.”
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Sean Sullivan | January 22, 2013