The hacks prevailed. Erskine Bowles: “My belief is that most of the members of the economic team strongly supported” the recommendations of the deficit-reduction commission he co-chaired. “Like every White House, there’s a small cabal of people that surround the president that he trusts and works with, and I believe it was those Chicago guys, the political team that convinced him that it would be smarter for him to wait and let Paul Ryan go first, and then he would look like the sensible guy in the game.”

Fluff wins out in a campaign straining to avoid substance. Stephanie Cutter says that People magazine and “Entertainment Tonight” are “equally important” as political media. Remember when Republicans were accused of dumbing down politics?

Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday” came out on top in this verbal clash with Robert Gibbs: “Wallace grilled Gibbs over actuary claims that, under the president’s plans, Medicare would not be able to sustain itself. Through a little crosstalk, Gibbs responded that the president’s plans change that and add preventive health-care coverage to the system. Wallace pushed back that if the providers don’t follow the orders, ‘under your plan this unelected board of 15 bureaucrats come in and they decide,’ he paused and stared at a laughing Gibbs: ‘You are laughing at it but that is it.’ ” What a rude bunch these Obama flacks are.

When you boil it down, liberal bias rules the day. Mark Halperin: ““I think the press still likes this story a lot, the media is very susceptible to doing what the Obama campaign wants, which is to focus on [Romney’s tax returns].”

You get the feeling that Iran is overcoming whatever sanctions obstacles we place in the regime’s path to nuclear weaponization. “When President Obama announced last month that he was barring a Baghdad bank from any dealings with the American banking system, it was a rare acknowledgment of a delicate problem facing the administration in a country that American troops just left: for months, Iraq has been helping Iran skirt economic sanctions imposed on Tehran because of its nuclear program.”

The band is dominating this PR battle. “Three members of a feminist performance group whose arrests for a ‘punk prayer’ against Vladimir Putin in Russia’s main Orthodox cathedral drew protests from artists around the world were convicted of hooliganism and sentenced to two years in prison.”­

You get the sense that the GOP really is getting the better of the Democrats on the Medicare argument. On Gibbs’s Sunday performance, Karl Rove observes: “There are moments of sort of unreality. I loved Robert Gibbs saying, well, this — these are not cuts in Medicare, we’re merely taking — we’re merely cutting the subsidies to insurance companies.Well, wait a minute, you’re cutting the subsidies to insurance companies for a program called Medicare Advantage in order to take and fund subsidies to insurance companies in the exchanges . . . . So as Republicans are on the offense by depicting this as Obamacare as a raid on the piggy bank of Medicare in order to pay Obamacare, taking money from programs for seniors in order to pay for health care for non-seniors.”

Can we at least agree who’s got the best VP judgment, hands down? Cutter is reduced to defending Joe Biden by comparing him to Sarah Palin. “‘I would like to point back to [Rudy Giuliani’s] glowing introduction of Sarah Palin during the 2008 Convention,’ Cutter said. ‘So if he wants to criticize the capacity of the vice president to take hold of this country, he should go back and look at those remarks and whether he still believes that they’re true.’”