* Mitt Romney backflips on his flip flop, again claims Obama made recession “worse”:
Here’s Mitt Romney on the trail in New Hampshire yesterday, repeating yet again the claim that Obama made the recession “worse” after backtracking on it last week (video from the New Hampshire Democratic Party):
It’s getting a bit difficult to track Romney’s contortions on the issue. He had previously repeated the assertion a number of times — even though it had been repeatedly debunked by independent fact checkers. Then, late last week, he retracted it under questioning from NBC, insisting he “didn’t say that things are worse.” Now he’s back to saying it again.
Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul insists Romney didn’t backtrack and was only referring to the stock market when he said he “didn’t say that things are worse.” But NBC’s transcript of last week’s exchange shows he was responding to a question about the overall economy.
Bottom line: Whether or not Romney meant to retract the assertion, it’s clear that he has decided to maintain it as central to his campaign message, even though it has been judged to be a non-subjective statement that is demonstrably false. The reason Romney needs to keep making this claim is obvious: The 2012 campaign will likely turn on whether voters accept Obama’s argument that things are turning around, however slowly, and Romney wants to persuade them of the opposite: That Obama’s spending and health care policies exacerbated the problem because they’re ideologically wrongheaded and fundamentally a failure. This will be central argument of the 2012 contest — a clash between governing philosophies — and without the claim that Obama made the recession worse, it’s hard to see how that indictment holds up.
* Romney flip-flops within one sentence: A brutal piece by the Los Angeles Times’s Maeve Reston, who points out that Romney is claiming Obama made the recession worse while simultaneously arguing that the recovery is anemic, which would appear to be a contradiction within one sentence.
* Dems continue to hit Romney over the flip-flop-flip: The DNC is out with a new video on Romney’s retraction of his flip-flop, a sign of how heavily invested Dems are in reprising the narrative about Romney’s malleability and opportunism that helped doom Mitt in 2008 .
* Jon Huntsman won’t say Obama made economy “worse”: Not even Huntsman is willing to agree with Romney’s claim.
* Dems appear ready to agree to Medicare cuts: Dems have offered up tens of billions in Medicare cuts in the deficit talks, but it looks as if they’re concentrated on the “provider” side, meaning Dems may still be holding firm againt any benefits cuts.
It’s unclear as of yet whether Republicans are willing to agree to any revenue increases of any kind in exchange for the Dem movement on Medicare.
* Poll finds distortions of Obama’s Israel stance a bust: Oh, dear: Gallup finds that despite a massive campaign by the right to distort Obama’s stance on Israel, Jewish support for Obama remains largely unchanged. Looking forward to seeing how the usual suspects — who have been predicting major Jewish defections from Obama for literally years now — spin this one away.
ICYMI: My piece on the Obama campaign’s plan to roll out a very aggressive response to criticism of his Israel stance.
* David Brooks sounds alarm about GOP inflexibility: The Republicans’ anti-tax orthodoxy has grown so rigid that even David Brooks seems quite alarmed, arguing that their refusal to close a few tax loopholes in exchange for trillions in cuts shows that they are hostage to a fanaticism that has rendered them incapable of governing.
* Clinton to Obama: Don’t blink in debt ceiling showdown: Bill advises Obama to follow his playbook from the mid-nineties standoff with Newt over Medicare, which Clinton won by drawing a hard line on Medicare and refusing to budge.
* Clinton on the 2012 campaign: Mike Allen has some fascinating quotes from the former president giving his overview of the 2012 race, the GOP candidates, and the story Obama will be able to tell in the quest for reelection.
.* Flood of outside cash transforming politics: A good Dan Eggan piece on how the torrents of secret money are on the verge of creating a kind of shadow campaign outside the usual boundaries of our politics. As always, keep in mind that Dems would halt this kind of activity tomorrow if Republicans agreed to do the same.
* Gay marriage history lesson of the day: As Albert Hunt notes, it was only seven years ago that George W. Bush and Karl Rove were able to use anti-gay marriage referenda to drive up turnout in key states, a reminder of how quickly the culture has shifted and deprived the issue of its potency.
* And the 2012 GOPers are awash in falsehoods: The Daily Beast says what must not be said: Most of the lies in the 2012 campaign thus far are coming from one side, and not the other.
What else is happening?