* Obama keeps sticking with the voice he found in his deficit speech last week, reiterating his call for an end to the Bush tax cuts for the rich, and casting the argument over them and Medicare as central to American identity:
I don’t need additional tax cuts, especially when I know that extending those tax cuts may end up meaning that some senior citizens are getting less health care; or thousands of kids on Head Start might not have that opportunity available to them; or people who are on Medicaid, seniors who are in nursing homes, or families who have got a child who’s autistic or disabled, that somehow they’re left to fend for themselves. That’s not a good option, from my perspective. That’s not a trade-off I’m willing to make.
And I don’t believe it’s a trade-off that most Americans are willing to make -- no matter what party you belong to. That’s not who we are as a country. We are better than that. We don’t allow people who are vulnerable just to sink further and further without giving them a little bit of a hand up. It’s part of what has made this country great.
* Good stuff from Ronald Brownstein on why the eventual 2012 GOP nominee will have to model his agenda on the Paul Ryan plan, and on why the White House is convinced it will give Obama the upper hand.
* Now that Obama has taken to reminding us of Bush’s role in creating the deficits, here is Bush’s role depicted in graphic chart form.
* Reality check of the day: David Dayen argues that if Republicans are really holding the debt ceiling “hostage,” then this hostage crisis is largely of the Dems’ own making.
* Republicans finally filed signatures today to recall three Wisconsin Democrats, but Dems retain a clear edge in on the ground energy and engagement.
* Meanwhile, Wisconsin Dems are lodging the incendiary charge that much of the GOP’s signature gathering effort was fraudulent, and Dems are moving aggressively to get many signatures tossed out.
* An awful lot of Republicans over the years have touted emergency rooms as an adequate form of health insurance.
* Obama endorses the use of predador drone strikes in Libya, and our military engagement continues to deepen.
* Takedown of the day: With the neocons smelling blood, Joe Klein pillories former Bushie Pete Wehner for claming: “It turns out a community organizer leaves something to be desired as commander-in-chief.”
* Obama stands up for Nancy Pelosi, and predicts she will again be a great Speaker of the House.
* Robert Reich on the perversity of defining the “center” as the midpoint between the Obama and Ryan proposals. I’d only add that Dems are complicit in making this happen.
* Speaking of which, what if the most fiscally responsible deficit reduction plan is the one that isn’t even part of the discussion, which is to say, the one produced by House progressives?
* And John Ensign is retiring, a major boost for Republicans, because his appointed replacement will now be able to run as an incumbent.
What else is happening?