* Some very interesting Senate floor action just now on the Obama tax cut extension plan. A Senate Dem aide emails:

On the floor just now, Senator Reid offered a unanimous consent agreement that would have allowed us to proceed to two Bush tax cut votes right away at a simple majority threshold: a vote on President Obama’s plan to extend middle-class tax cuts on income up to $250,000, and a vote on Senator Hatch’s amendment to extend most of the Bush tax cuts.

Senator McConnell blocked us from voting on both President Obama’s plan and the Republican plan at a simple majority threshold, presumably because he is afraid our bill would pass and his would fail.

McConnell blocked a simple majority vote on both the GOP plan to extend all the Bush tax cuts, and on the Dem plan to extend them just on income up to $250,000?

Either Harry Reid is bluffing, or he’s rounded up 50 Dem Senators to vote for the Obama plan and against the GOP one.

* Must watch: Steve Kornacki, on his new MSNBC show The Cycle, gives us a history lesson on how Republicans responded the last time a Democratic president moved to raise taxes on the highest earners.

Hint: It will not look unfamiliar to those following today’s debate over Obama’s proposal to restore the rates set by that Democratic president — which this time would only impact income above $250,000 earned by two percent of taxpayers.

* Los Angeles Times: The GOP “repeal and replace” charade has become so absurd that even conservatives are gently telling Republicans they need to come up with something a bit more convincing.

* No surrender: Michele Bachmann and House conservatives are now demanding the GOP leadership hold votes defunding Obamacare, which should play well with indys who want this battle to go on...and on...

* Via Taegan Goddard, Alex Burns flags an interesting quote from Mitt Romney, defending himself against GOP criticism that he’s been slow to respond to the attacks on Bain:

“I of course respond to the attacks which come. But you know, they say in politics, if you’re responding, you’re losing.”

* No end to it: ABC News catches Romney claiming he’s released the same tax return info as John Kerry did (no, he hasn’t).

* Good line from Steve Benen, urging Dems to play offense against the GOP drive to repeal Obamacare:

Republicans are trying to kill popular health care measures because they think it’ll help them politically. Maybe someone ought to let voters know.

* The Obama camp launches a new ad touting his tax cut and hitting Romney’s for hiking middle class rates — suggesting the contrast on taxes, once a signature GOP issue, will be central for the duration.

* Good catch by Stephen Stromberg: At his NAACP speech, Romney pledged to work to strengthen the family. How? By defending “traditional marriage.” You game out the possible motives here yourself.

* Adam Serwer on another reason the NAACP audience booed Romney:

By promising to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Romney was reminding the NAACP that he is running on a promise to erase the term of the first black president as though it never happened.

* And it’s hard not to draw a connection between Romney’s speech and Michael Steele’s criticism in an interview with Evan McMorris Santoro of the RNC’s outreach to African Americans these days:

“The RNC has done very little since I left office to expand on the work that we had done in this area,” he said. “They’ve got a website, God bless them. It’s always good to put a website up with some black faces on it. Outreach.”

What else?