The White House is hitting back at John Boehner over reports that he dismissed the standoff over student loans as “phony” in a closed-door meeting with Republicans and told them it was unlikely that the expiration of low student loan rates could be stopped.

After that story broke, House Republicans denied that they thought the expiration was likely and released a new set of ideas for paying for the extension of the low rates, including cutting federal workers’ retirement benefits.

White House spokesman Matt Lehrich e-mails:

 “Earlier today, Speaker Boehner reportedly told his Republican colleagues that he thought this was a ‘phony’ issue. Now, he’s signed onto a letter asking the administration to work with him on a legislative fix. The President will work with members of both parties to prevent the interest rate from doubling because he understands that seven million American college students and their families don’t think that an average $1,000 increase on the typical college student’s debt load is ‘phony.’ ”

And so the standoff continues – G.S.

As for the rest of the good stuff:

* John Sides brings data to show that Politico notwithstanding, the evidence is that if anything, Mitt Romney has been treated nicer by the press than Barack Obama.

* If you’re a reporter, or just interested in media coverage, you should be reading Brendan Nyhan’s guide for how to cover birthers.

* The Boston Phoenix, however, just thinks Romney should go ahead and put Donald Trump on the ticket.

* Good point on Republicans and gas prices from Jonathan Capehart – although I would guess that the parties are pretty much equally guilty on this one.

* Erik Kain notes something interesting about the defeat of Democratic congressman Silvestre Reyes in the Texas primary this week: Apparently a key issue for his opponent is the war on drugs. Could be a test case for debate within the party.

* End of the line for Buddy Roemer, from Krystal Bonner.

* Nice Paul Waldman piece about the poor, beat-up-upon billionaires.

* Heather Hurlburt is brutal on Romney’s non-plan for Syria and what it says about his general attitude about foreign policy.

* For more on that, see Maeve Reston and Seema Mehta.

* Gays and lesbians join African Americans, Jews and many other groups in a key category: small or smallish groups that most Americans think are far, far larger. Either that, or many Americans have no idea what percentages mean. I’m not sure which is a more likely explanation. Nice write-up by Garance Franke-Ruta.

* Steve Kornacki corrects the record – and some mythology – about the Bill Clinton presidency and the 1992 campaign.

* See also Ed Kilgore’s story about Clinton and the DLC.

* Also, I really like this pushback from Matt Yglesias arguing against the debunkers about Clinton-era economic growth.

* Tomorrow’s news will be the jobs numbers that will be released in the morning. Jared Bernstein has a great post today previewing the numbers and providing the necessary context. Excellent.

* That Republican bill on abortion that failed today in the House explained, by Irin Carmon.

* Good overview from Reid Wilson about the tea party in 2012.

* The Republican voter purge in Florida, by Ari Berman.

* And Annalee Newitz brings us the history of the future – how far in the future science fiction has been been set over time. Missing: those important movies (and TV series) set a long time ago. Some of them in a galaxy far, far away.