* White House gearing up for epic fight with GOP over jobs? Ever since the debt ceiling fight ended, and the long-promised “pivot to jobs” began, the central question has been this: How ambitious and aggressive is President Obama willing to be in pushing new policy ideas to spur job creation, even if they are all but certain to fail, given GOP control of the House?

The debate inside the administration has reportedly broken down along these lines: Will Obama adopt a conciliatory approach, in which he focuses on more modest ideas and continues to reach out to Republicans to ask for compromise, in the belief that independents would dismiss anything more confrontational as grandstanding? Or will he offer bold proposals in the full knowledge that Republicans will oppose them, then wage a public campaign designed to higlight GOP intransigence?

It looks like the latter argument may be carrying the day, if this important new Associated Press report is any indication:

Seeking a jolt for a wilting economy, President Barack Obama will give a major speech in early September to unveil new ideas for speeding up job growth and helping the struggling poor and middle class, a senior administration official told The Associated Press.

The president’s plan is likely to contain tax cuts, jobs-boosting infrastructure ideas and steps that would specifically help the long-term unemployed. The official emphasized that all of Obama’s proposals would be fresh ones, not a rehash of plans he has pitched for many weeks and still supports, including his “infrastructure bank” idea to finance construction jobs.

Also note this key detail:

Come September, Obama will try to reframe the jobs debate and press lawmakers to act on his ideas. And, since he is almost sure to face political opposition from Republicans, particularly the leadership of the House, he is already preparing to lobby the American public for support if Congress tosses his ideas aside.

Obviously the details will matter, and the range of available job creation tools in the arsenal is limited given the scale of our challenges, but this is encouraging. It suggests earlier reports that the White House is setting the bar low in service of the quest for compromise may have been wrong. Instead, the administration seems to be operating from the assumption that Obama will have no choice but to take his case to the public.

Rather than accept in advance that compromise on more modest proposals is a politically desirable goal in and of itself — that it’s the only thing within reach — the administation seems to have concluded that a major confrontation on jobs is not just inevitable, but perhaps even desirable. I don’t know what Obama will be able to extract from Congress in practical terms, and obviously unemployment may well remain chronically high, but it’s good to see that the White House seems to be gearing up for an epic public argument over it.

* Democrats hang on in Wisconsin: The two Dems targeted for recall held on to their seats last night, which means that the end result of the noisy, nationally watched six-month war in Wisconsin is that Republicans will hold a razor-thin 17-16 majority in the state senate.

Key takeaway: While Dems did not achieve their objective of taking back that chamber, the tighter majority means Scott Walker and Republicans will have a tougher time getting everything they want. Also: The fact that no Dem was defeated — while gains were made in longtime GOP districts — may embolden Dems to go through with their effort to recall Walker.

* White House weighing request for new stimulus? In addition to the new jobs offensive outlined above, the Wall Street Journal reports that White House officials are going to press the Congressional “super-committee” to come up with new stimulus measures amid the quest for deficit reduction.

Of course, the fact that a committee devoted to reducting the deficit isn’t automatically focused on job creation, and has to be urged to do so, is itself a reminder that the Congressional debate has run off the rails.

* Reasons for optimism about new jobs push? I’m with Jonathan Cohn on this:

I wouldn’t discount the possibility that Obama’s push for jobs will force even this Republican Congress to do something — and that, even if it’s less than he or you or I would want, it could actually put a decent number of people back to work. That’s certainly worth trying. And if the Republicans really won’t pass anything? Then, at the very least, Americans will have a better idea of where the two parties really stand — and what they really want.

* Rick Perry opposes Federal role in your child’s education: Does Perry really believe the Federal government should play no role whatsoever in educating children? He has now confirmed that that’s exactly what he believes, underscoring yet again the degree to which anti-government fanaticism is dominating the GOP primary process.

I’d really be interested to know whether GOP primary voters agree with this.

* Rick Perry’s Texas used billions in hated stimulus money: The Texas Tribune reports that for all of Perry’s public attacks on the stimulus, this is also true:

The reality of Perry’s relationship with fed-stim is complicated. Through the second quarter of this year, Texas has used $17.4 billion in federal stimulus money — including $8 billion of the one-time dollars to fund state expenses that recur over and over. In fact, Texas used the federal stimulus to balance its last two budgets.

* National press rips Perry over Bernanke flap: It’s good to see that major news orgs like the New York Times are leading with the important fact that Perry refused to retract his implied threat to the Fed chairman.

* What’s really behind the Perry-Bernanke dust-up: Former White House adviser Jared Bernstein digs into the real reason conservatives don’t want the Fed to print more money to create inflation and stimulate job growth: “the wealthy get hurt a lot more by inflation than by unemployment, and visa-versa for the middle class.”

* Texas benefitted greatly from the government Perry despises: A great point from Harold Meyerson:

What Perry either ignores or doesn’t know is how greatly Texas has benefited from the investments and regulations of the federal government he despises. He grew up, he tells all who will listen, on a small, hardscrabble Texas farm. But it was Franklin Roosevelt’s Rural Electrification Administration that brought electricity to those farms, which, left to the mercies of the market, would have remained dark for decades. The New Deal threw money at Texas, bringing it dams, highways and schoolhouses.

* Obama sticks up for public sector unions: I hadn’t realized that a minor flap erupted over whether Obama sufficiently defended public employees and unions during remarks in Iowa yesterday, but Joan Walsh sets the record straight.

* And ignore right-wing’s nonsensical outrage about Biden’s alleged “terrorist” quote: A must-read from Post fact checker Glenn Kessler, who does a really nice job pointing out that there’s no solid evidence whatsoever that Joe Biden ever called GOPers ”terrorists,” dismissing the flap over this nonsense as “unverified tittle-tattle unworthy of public discourse.” This one is going to get some on the right very, very angry.

What else is happening?