* Obama re-elect will tout rescue of auto industry: The 2012 presidential campaign is underway, and today Dems hope to drive the narrative with an attack on the leading GOP candidates — timed to Chrysler’s announcement today that it will repay its recovery loan — for opposing Obama’s decision to rescue the auto companies.

The DNC is out with a new web video that’s worth watching as a preview of what’s to come in 2012: It features Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich all panning the auto bailout idea at the time and predicting it would lead to widespread disaster for the auto industry. Of course, precisely the opposite happened. With Obama still very vulnerable on the economy, and with the 2012 campaign shaping up as a referendum on his spending policies, here is a clear instance in which Federal action resulted in an unambiguous success story.

It’s favorable turf for Obama to fight the larger ideological battle of this campaign — and Dems will emphasize it as much as possible in the crucial battlegrounds of the industrial midwest.

* How central will rebound of manufacturing be to 2012? Relatedly, I meant to link to these from a few days ago: The Post on how the rebound of manufacturing in the Rust Belt is one of the bright spots of a shaky recovery, and Politico on the Dem plan to make the auto industry central to the 2012 campaign. In light of today’s political events, both are newly relevant — clip and save.

* House GOPer suggests elderly should fend for themselves: Must read from Ryan Grim on GOP Rep. Rob Woodall of Georgia, who rebuffed his constituents’ criticism of the GOP Medicare plan with some curious arguments, including this:

“You want the government to take care of you, because your employer decided not to take care of you. My question is, ‘When do I decide I’m going to take care of me?’”

That sounds like he’s telling would-be Medicare recipients whose employer isn’t supplying insurance for retirees that they should fend for themselves, which seems decidedly off the GOP message. This one could get some cable play, particularly if Dems grab on to it and argue that it represents the GOP’s ideological agenda laid bare. There’s video courtesy of Patch.com.

* Spin war erupts over meaning of House special election: With Dem Kathy Hochul likely to pull off an upset in NY-26 today, the parties are already at war over whether that outcome would constitute a referendum on the GOP’s Medicare plan. Jonathan Chait on why the race shows that Republicans are taking a “share of responsibility for the condition of the economy and Washington.”

* GOP loss could be final straw for GOP Medicare plan: The Fix crew asks a good question: If Republicans lose in NY-26, will other vulnerable House GOPers get so spooked that they finally cut themselves loose from Ryancare?

* But will GOP base let Republicans toss Ryancare overboard? Ezra Klein says that even if they decide it’s too toxic, Republicans are stuck with it, because the base just won’t let it go.

* Can Dems recruit Elizabeth Warren to challenge Scott Brown? National Dems want Obama consumer protection chief Warren to enter the Massachusetts Senate race, which would turn it into a national ideological battle, given that she’s revered by liberals and despised by the right for her aggressive posture towards big corporations. She’s conspiculously declining to rule it out.

* Fact check of the day: Dana Milbank digs into the record and finds that Tim Pawlenty — despite his claim to the contrary — did in fact claim that “the era of small government is over.”

The man is toast in the GOP primary! He’ll never get past this one.

* T-Paw’s truthiness strategy: He wants to be the truth-teller in the race, but David Corn notes that this strategy doesn’t exactly scan with his record of untruthiness.

* T-Paw’s opposition to ethanol subsidies: Interesting question from David Frum:

It’s courageous, principled, and right for Tim Pawlenty to travel to Iowa to denounce ethanol and other farm subsidies. But I’m also left wondering: is this also a very good way to manage expectations if he comes second or third or worse in Iowa, where Pawlenty is currently polling in single digits?

* GOPers try (again) to claim that Obama could lose crucial Jewish support: Republican strategists are pushing the narrative that Obama’s 1967 lines-and-swaps proposal could cost him with this core Dem constituency.

But again, the claim that Obama is at risk of losing Jewish support has been a Golden Oldie for quite some time now, and it never seems to happen.

* Darrell Issa’s probes not so scary after all: The aggressive investigations expected from GOPer Darrell Issa have yet to materialize.

* And the 2012 huckster of the day: Rudy Giuliani, for getting his allies to pretend that he’s considering another presidential run. Yeah, right. The 9/11 magic carpet stopped flying long ago — it crashed and burned with Rudy’s colossal and expensive flameout in 2008 — and now what’s left of it is rolled up in the basement gathering dust.

What else is happening?