* So far 25 House Dems and counting have signed that letter from Friday drawing a hard line against any entitlements benefits cuts, a House Dem source says.
More signers could mean a bit more leverage for Dems in the endgame of the deficit talks.
* Orrin Hatch’s island: Senator Hatch again takes to the Senate floor to defend the claim that the poor aren’t doing enough towards deficit reduction — only this time he does it alongside a poster of Thurston Howell III!
* Steve Stromberg on why Obama’s message on the deficit today was just right.
* So what happened in today’s meeting between Obama and Congressional leaders after the presser today? Here’s the readout Democrats are providing:
Cantor came in with a specific proposal that included cuts to Medicare without proposing a dime in savings through closing special interest tax giveaways. President reacted to the package noting that the principal of shared sacrifice is his bottom line. Obviously, the package did not include any shared sacrifice.
* The readout on the meeting provided by Republicans includes this tense exchange between Obama and John Boehner:
BOEHNER: It’s clear to all of us how big this spending problem is. Congress keeps voting for programs we can’t pay for. But look, entitlement cuts aren’t easy for us to vote for either. Our guys aren’t cheerleading about cutting entitlements.
OBAMA: Your guys already voted for them [in the Ryan budget].
BOEHNER: Excuse us for trying to lead.
* Eric Cantor says Republicans are already making a major concession in the debt ceiling talks: Their willingness to participate in the talks at all.
The President, Cantor says, doesn’t grasp how politically difficult it is for conservatives to be part of any debt ceiling hike — and that’s even without revenue increases.
* Sorta encouraging: There’s been a rise in the number of Americans who realize default could be a bad thing, but marginally more still oppose raising the debt limit.
* Wow: After Scotland Yard police began probing Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World, some of them found their phone messages were being targeted by the tabloid.
* A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist says he’s got evidence that a GOP state senator may have been threatened to pressure him to vote for Scott Walker’s union-busting proposal.
* Yes, Politifact, you should change your “barely true” rating to “mostly false.” The former lacks clarity and makes serious distortions and exaggerations sound somewhat defensible.
* And the typo of the day: Politico says House GOPers pushing a Tea-friendly proposal “will blow the Tea Party base .” Apparently Politico meant to say GOPers intended it as a “bow to the Tea Party base.”
What else is going on?