* Lefty groups ratchet up ads targeting Wisconsin GOP state senators for recall: Liberal groups are going up with a new version of their much-discussed ad featuring ordinary Wisconsinites making the case for public employee barganing rights — and this time, the new spot focuses on four Wisconsin state senators who are top targets for the Dem recall drives:

“Republican Senators like Alberta Darling should enjoy their last several weeks in office,” says Charles Chamberlain, the director of Democracy for America, which is airing the ad along with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “The local energy around recalling Republicans is unlike anything DFA, the PCCC, or most other political organizers have seen in a long time.”

The groups are on track to spend some $500,000 on ads by the end of next week, with more to come — another measure of just how much the left is staking on keeping the recall fight going, with an eye towards how it will impact the 2012 Congressional and presidential races.

* Dems open to big cuts in budget negotiations? With House Speaker John Boehner losing support on his right flank, putting him under pressure to make a budget deal with Dems, Carl Hulse reports this:

At the moment, both sides can see the makings of a deal that would include $30 billion to $40 billion in cuts — not far from where Republicans started before the freshmen clamored for steeper reductions.

I wonder how many Congressional Dems are on board with this...

* Obama should show leadership on guns: Harsh stuff from E.J. Dionne, who rips into Obama for suggesting mere “baby steps” towards gun control reform, rather than standing up to the NRA “bullies” who will continue to work for his destruction no matter what he does.

Also note Dionne’s criticism of Obama for drawing a false equivalence between advocates of sensible gun control — whom the president agrees with — and those who will battle any and all steps towards reform, no matter how modest.

* Why seek common ground with those who have no interest in compromise? Indeed, even though Obama recently went out of his way to reaffirm rights of gun owners, extending a hand of compromise towards the “gun rights” lobby, NRA president Wayne LaPierre is now accusing Obama of a secret plot to undermine the Second Amendment.

* Mitt Romney’s health care Gordian Knot, ctd: Romney supporters are road-testing a new argument to get him around his Romneycare individual mandate problem: If there’s anything wrong with the health reform plan he passed as Governor of Massachusetts, it’s the fault of Massachusetts Democrats.

* Michele Bachmann 2012! Go read Ed Kilgore over at The New Republic on why she can really win in Iowa and why she may really go for it all. Also don’t miss Kilgore’s interesting comparison between Bachmann and Sarah Palin, and his take on why Bachmann seems to be usurping her space. (Explanation for lack of link below.)

* And a quick note to readers: Morning Plum is much shorter than usual today because technical difficulties are preventing me from linking out in some cases. Apologies and thanks again for your patience.

What else is happening?