* Obama prepares to sell the “American jobs act”: In his speech today, Obama needs to accomplish one clear, overarching goal: Begin a process which will make it increasingly uncomfortable politically for Congress — Republicans in particular — not to act on his proposals, or some variation of them.

To do this, Obama will stress two key points: First, that the ideas in his plan are bipartisan; and second, that Congressional action would provide immediate relief to the American people.

Obama’s other challenge is this: How does he buy more time from an American public that has already heard many speeches from him, but does not believe his words and actions have made any difference? Obama will deal with this problem by pleading for more patience. He’ll make an expansive case that our problems were decades in the making, thanks to a decades long attack on the middle class’s economic security, and will require more time to solve.

The White House is circulating talking points to outside allies and surrogates that offer the most detailed look yet at how Obama will pitch his plan. Here’s the key chunk:

The American Jobs Act is:

— based on bi-partisan ideas;

— it is fully paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes and asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share; and

— it will have an impact on job and economic growth NOW — just as soon as Congress acts.

— Every day, people in this country are working hard to meet their responsibilities. The question now is whether Washington will meet theirs.

— The time for obstruction and gridlock is over. Congress needs to put country ahead of politics.

— The American people know that the economic crisis and the deep recession weren’t created overnight and won’t be solved overnight. The economic security of the American middle class has been under attack for decades.

— That’s why President Obama believes we need to do more than just recover from this economic crisis.

— The President is rebuilding the economy the American way — based on balance, fairness and the same set of rules for everyone from Wall Street to Main Street where hard work and responsibility pay and gaming the system is penalized.

— It’s an American economy that’s built to last and creates the jobs of the future, by forcing Washington to live within its means so we can invest in small business entrepreneurs, education, and making things the world buys, not outsourcing, loopholes and reckless financial deals that put middle class security at risk.

Obviously the policy details will be key to evaluating the speech, and it will also be interesting to see how Obama tells the larger story of the decades long attack on the “economic security of the American middle class” and the need to rebuild the economy for the future. But these seem like the broad political outlines.

* Obama needs to show some fight in jobs speech: Interesting advice from Michael Tomasky, who imagines what Obama could say in his speech tonight:

“I have shown my good faith. You haven’t shown yours. I’ve tried to do it the nice way. You keep wanting to fight. So now, if it’s a fight you want, it’s a fight you’ll get. Not for me, or for my job, but for the American people, for the unemployed and the underemployed and everybody whose lives are made tougher by this economy. That’s a fight I’m thrilled to have, because I am on their side, and you people are on the side of the top 2 percent.”

What to watch for: How directly Obama calls out Republicans for blocking all of his job-creation policies.

* Dems to Congress: Don’t make nice with Republicans: I suspect Obama and his team have already reached this conclusion, Dems are pushing them to realize that there’s no percentage in trying to woo Republicans, because as Rep. Raul Grijalva puts it:

“It’s in their best interest that the president appear ineffective and not get anything done. He’s gotta take this fight to the American public, and that’s what we want to urge him to do.”

* Can Obama’s speech win back independents? The New York Times has an interview with an independent voter that’s well worth pondering. She says she may not vote for Obama, in part because she’s frustrated by a Washington culture in which “Congress” in general — not Republicans in particular — have blocked all of Obama’s proposals.

If this voter is in any way representative — and I suspect she might be — it speaks volumes about how Republicans benefit from government dysfunction, and suggests the pressure is on Obama to spell out to voters what’s actually happening.

* GOP candidates spew nonstop falsehoods:If you read only one thing about last night’s debate, make it Post fact checker Glenn Kessler’s bracing takedown of all the falsehoods uttered about Obamacare, Obama’s position on Israel, Social Security being a “Ponzi scheme,” and other doozies.

* Why Romney might beat Perry: Nate Silver notes that Perry’s hostility to Social Security — on display again at the debate last night — is not only out of step with even Republican voters, but will also sow concerns among them about his electability, which is in fact a key factor in picking nominees.

How Romney makes the case for Perry’s unelectability — while taking care not to show disdain for his ultra conservative positions — is a key dynamic to watch.

* Perry’s vulnerability on Social Security: Indeed, the Obama-allied American Bridge has released a video documenting Perry’s positions on Social Security, a signal that they view his extremism about the program as one of his prime vulnerabilities (as does Karl Rove) and are already prepping to use them should he become the nominee.

* Romney batters Perry over Social Security: Smart National Journal piece about how Romney is seizing on Perry’s disdain for Social Security to sow doubts about Perry’s temperament and whether he has the gravitas to function as the national party’s standard-bearer.

* How about a supercommittee that focuses on jobs? The Times has a strong editorial calling on Congress to include job-creation in the super-committee’s mission, and it remains astonishing that there’s even any question at all about whether this is what should be done.

* And it’s day four of the fake Hoffa controversy: As Jonathan Capehart aptly notes, the real story underlying the Jimmy Hoffa flap is that conservatives and Tea Partyers are outraged by a union leader’s call for workers to go out and vote in their own interests.

What else is happening?