* Selling his deficit plan in Virginia today, Obama continued to draw a sharp and (gasp!) partisan contrast with Republicans.

* He also continued to cast the debate as one over who bears the burden of deficit reduction.

* House Republicans will pay outside counsel up to $500,000 to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.

* John Boehner spokesman Michael Steel defends the move in an email:

“Obviously, this whole thing would be unnecessary if the White House and the Justice Department would do their job and defend a law that was passed by both Houses of Congress and signed by the President of the United States -- a Democratic President, at that.”

* But the public agrees with Dems on this one: A new CNN poll finds that 51 percent of Americans favor legalizing same-sex marriage, and Republicans are the only group against it, with 71 percent opposed.

* Adam Serwer: “This is not a winning battle for the Republican Party, but it’s one that their base wants them to fight.”

* Kevin Drum offers a convincing, if not wholly satisfactory, explanation for the massive gap between independent voters’ support for Obama’s policies and disapproval of his performance.

* Sam Stein fleshes out in previously unreported detail just how long White House advisers have been plotting Obama’s speech, suggesting they’ve long viewed deficit positioning as key to reelection.

* Michael Tomasky shows how easy it is to envision how Obama could lose reelection.

* Can retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez win a Senate seat for Dems in Texas? Despite the growing Hispanic population, the odds are still heavily against it.

* Interesting suggestion from Digby: Are Dems on the “Gang of Six” putting Social Security “changes” on the table so Obama can step in and save it?

* Wow: More Tea Party supporters prefer Mitt Romney in a matchup with Obama than either Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann, suggesting his efforts to wriggle off the Romneycare hook may be paying off.

* It’s real: GOP activists in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina are increasingly open to a Donald Trump presidential bid, despite (or because of) his nonstop trafficking in falsehoods about the president’s citizenship and legitimacy.

* Reality check of the day: Republicans may be about to file recall signatures against Dems, and lots of conservative money will flow into Wisconsin to help ensure that the state senate stays in Republican hands.

* And it’s time to start a new support group: Government-hating Tea Partyers who can’t bring themselves to part with their Medicare.

What else is happening?