* Obama is winning the PR war with GOP over debt ceiling: If Mitch McConnell’s debt ceiling punt proposal was born out of an awareness that Republicans are losing the public relations battle over the debt ceiling, new numbers from Quinnipiac confirm that he would be right.
The poll finds that the public agrees with Obama’s arguments on taxes, which have emerged as central to this fight. A large majority, 67 percent, says the debt ceiling compromise should include tax hikes for the rich and corporations. Only 25 percent side with the GOP position that the deal should only include spending cuts.
What’s more, a plurality accepts Obama’s framing of the issue. Forty five percent think Obama’s revenue proposals constitute “closing loopholes,” versus only 37 percent who see them as “tax hikes.” This is a crucial finding: The GOP strategy seems to have been premised on the idea that Dems would have to blink if Republicans uniformly labeled any Dem revenue proposal as a tax increase, but the public is apparently willing to entertain nuance on the issue.
Also: Americans would blame the GOP over Obama, 48-34, if the debt ceiling doesn’t get raised. And marginally more (45) think not raising it would harm the economy than think raising it would increase spending (43).
There are some bad numbers in here for Obama. Large numbers say his approach will impact the middle class and disapprove of his handling of the economy and deficit, and economic pessimism is running high. The economy may very well trump all in the end, reducing the debt ceiling brawl to minor sideshow status.
But when it comes to the debt limit impasse that’s now consuming Washington, the public now seems to generally view the argument on Obama’s terms.
* Public opinion on Dems’ side of Dems on taxes: Nate Silver runs the numbers and confirms what we all knew already: The GOP’s implacable opposition to any tax or revenue increases is far outside the mainstream. As Silver says, Dems shouldn’t back down in this fight, because public opinion is on their side.
* Obama to Cantor: “Enough is enough”: The latest on the debt ceiling impasse: Eric Cantor is claiming that Obama grew “agitated” in yesterday’s private meeting when Cantor insisted on a short term debt ceiling extension rather than a long term deal that falls short of what Republicans want. But Dems are pushing back, arguing that Obama simply told Cantor to drop the posturing: “Enough is enough.”
“Cantor’s account of tonight’s meeting is completely overblown,” a Dem aide emailed reporters last night. “Cantor rudely interrupted the President three times to advocate for short-term debt ceiling increases while the President was wrapping the meeting.”
* What Obama actually said to Cantor: The fullest rendition of the quote that’s out there this morning:
“Eric, don’t call my bluff. I’m going to the American people on this,” the president said, according to both Cantor and another attendee. “This process is confirming what the American people think is the worst about Washington: that everyone is more interested in posturing, political positioning, and protecting their base, than in resolving real problems.”
* What the disagreement is about: Obama reportedly told Cantor that he could agree to $1.7 trillion in spending cuts, and could push savings up over $2 trillion if Republicans accepted revenue increases. But Cantor balked and said steeper cuts — and no revenues — were necessary to get the deal through the House, prompting the President to insist that Cantor is just looking for ways to say No.
* Cantor’s version of events: Mike Allen has the most extensive version of what happened, as told by Cantor’s office. Cliff notes version: The White House is vascillating and is offering far short of the GOP’s demand for $2.4 trillion in savings; Cantor never interrupted the president.
* Prospects grow for McConnell punt plan: The heightened tensions are encouraging lawmakers on both sides to get more serious about Mitch McConnell’s plan to transfer the debt ceiling to the President; Cantor signaled for the first time after the meeting that he no longer objects to the idea, though it’s questionable whether it could pass the House.
* Quote of the day: From Senator Claire McCaskill:
“I think Mitch McConnell, frankly, has lost his mind.”
* Newsflash: Public cares a lot more about jobs than deficit: Not that it matters anymore, because we’re hopelessly trapped in a Beltway Deficit Feedback Loop, but this from the Quinnipiac poll is pretty dispiriting:
What do you think is more important, reducing the federal budget deficit or reducing unemployment?
Reducing deficit 32
Reducing unemployment 62
* New polling on Wisconsin recalls: Taegan Goddard has the latest: A bare plurality statewide don’t want the six GOP state senators recalled, but more crucially, all of them have approval ratings below 50 percent in Dem polling.
* GOP Medicare plan remains major issue: The labor-backed Americans United for Change is going up with a new spot in Reno that attempts to frame the special election for Senator Dean Heller’s former House seat as a referendum on the Paul Ryan Medicare plan — yet another sign that Dems hope Medicare will remain central all the way through Election Day 2012.
* 2012 hucksterism of the day: Dear Mark Halperin: Please stop referring to Rudy Giuliani, who cannot mount a credible campaign for president no matter how artfully he pretends otherwise, as “America’s Mayor.” Thanks in advance.
* And will Rudy comment on alleged phone hacking of 9/11 victims? As I noted here yesterday, the news that Rupert Murdoch’s reporters may have hacked the phones of 9/11 victims puts pressure on New York politicians to take on Murdoch. And a spokesperson for Rudy “noun verb 9/11” Giuliani has still not replied to a request for comment yesterday on the scandal.
Maybe someone should ask Rudy about this in New Hampshire today.
What else is going on?