Calling out the president. “House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Wednesday that Republicans did not leave the debt talks over corporate loopholes, as President Obama said, but over taxes. . . . Cantor was emphatic that the impasse was due to Democratic demands to raise taxes to pay down portions of the debt ceiling increase; Republicans said from the start of the debate that tax increases are a non-starter.”

Horse-trading with the president? “Majority Leader Eric Cantor said that ‘we’ll be glad to talk loopholes’ at the White House. The Virginia Republican was a participant in budget talks led by Vice President Joe Biden but left the talks because of administration demands on taxes. Cantor said any revenue raised by closing loopholes like preferences for the oil and gas industry should be used to pay for ‘tax cuts somewhere else.’ His earlier position was that closing loopholes should wait for a comprehensive effort to reform the tax code.”

Debunking the president. Jim Pethokoukis explains the results of Obamanomics: “A 9.1 percent unemployment rate that’s probably closer to 16 percent counting the discouraged and underemployed, the worst income growth and weakest GDP growth of any upturn since World War II, a still-weakening housing market. Oh, and a trillion bucks down the tube. Oh, and two-and-a-half years . . . and counting . . . wasted during which time the skills of unemployed workers continue to erode and the careers of younger Americans suffer long-term income damage. Losing the future. Next, add in healthcare reform that Medicare’s chief actuary says will not slow the overall growth of healthcare spending. . . . And toss in a financial reform plan that the outspoken and independent president of the Kansas City Fed says he ‘can’t imagine’ working.”

Challenging the president. “The Romney camp is out with a tart statement responding to David Plouffe’s description of Romney this morning as a ‘world-class political contortionist.’ Plouffe said at a Bloomberg event in D.C. today that the GOP frontrunner has been “all over the map on the president’s leadership on the economy.”

Souring on the president. Support for Obama may not have fallen since the disastrous Arab Spring speech, but Obama had 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008 and now has only 60 percent support in a constituency that is nearly as loyal to the Democratic Party as African Americans. The poll doesn’t measure, of course, the degree to which Jewish donors are choosing to spend their campaign donation dollars elsewhere.

Struggling to make it to the general election match up with the president. “As the Republican presidential primary heads into a crucial stretch ahead of the August 13 Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, the 50-year-old Pawlenty has been fading rather than emerging. And in interviews with more than two dozen people who have known the former governor or worked with him as far back as high school, the explanation was nearly always the same. There is a dynamic presence to Pawlenty, a man almost universally described as the ‘smartest in the room’ But it has remained hidden from view, replaced by a more uncertain, uncomfortable, cautious candidate. Unlocking the old Tim Pawlenty is key to whether he can recover politically and have any chance of staging a comeback.” Read the whole thing.

Surging in her effort to face off against Obama in 2012. “When PPP polled New Hampshire in April Michele Bachmann was stuck at 4%. She’s gained 14 points over the last three months and now finds herself within single digits of Mitt Romney. Romney continues to lead the way in the state with 25% to 18% for Bachmann, 11% for Sarah Palin, 9% for Ron Paul, 7% for Rick Perry and Herman Cain, 6% for Jon Huntsman and Tim Pawlenty, and 4% for Newt Gingrich.” If she wins the Iowa caucuses (very possible) and runs neck-and-neck with Romney in his best, early state, does Bachmann become the undisputed frontrunner?