Barack Obama President Obama  (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Less-than-stellar growth. “The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.5% pace in the second quarter, the government’s latest estimate for the period showed Thursday, reflecting stronger performance by businesses and local governments ahead of a rockier second half of the year. The Commerce Department’s latest gauge of second-quarter gross domestic product, the broadest measure of all goods and services produced in the economy, remained the same as last month’s reading. Economists had forecast a revised second-quarter growth pace of 2.8%.”

Obamacare is not going swimmingly. “White House Delays Obamacare While Attacking Republicans For Trying To Delay Obamacare.”

Stunning, when you think about it. “Senator Cruz, along with several of his colleagues, convinced many grassroots conservatives and Tea Party members that the end game was to put a stake through the heart of ObamaCare, once and for all. If you sided with them, you were a principled conservative who opposed ObamaCare; if you were against them, you were part of the “surrender caucus.” This was cast as a Moment of Truth. Now the whole thing is being exposed for what it was – a game.” Read the whole thing.

A sterling rebuke delivered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.): “You know, I’m all for changing the Affordable Care Act, eliminating it and doing something that’s more transparent, more market-oriented. To create the impression that we can defund ObamaCare when the only thing we control — and barely — is the U.S. House of Representatives, is not intellectually honest.”

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) set a shining example as well. “Is it more important to the senator from Texas and the senator from Utah that  the people around the country watch this vote, or is it more important to us that we have a good policy outcome from our standpoint and actually have a body that has a majority of Republican to be able to react and send back something of  good policy?”

When the GOP brand is so rotten, one Republican has sparkling numbers. “[New Jersey Gov. Chris] Christie leads [Barbara] Buono by the eye-popping margin of 64 percent to 30  percent. Even more stunning, while just 9 percent of African-American voters cast  their ballots for the Republican in 2009, he currently earns 36 percent of the  black vote, according to the new poll. . . . To put that standing in recent historical perspective, no Republican  presidential, Senate, or gubernatorial candidate in the state Jersey has topped 17 percent of the African-American vote in more than two decades.”

President Obama is sublimely above the fray; the speaker of the House responds with just the right tone. “The president says, ‘I’m not going to negotiate’ over the debt limit. Well, I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t work that way. We’re not going to ignore Washington’s spending problem and we’re not going to accept the new normal of a weak economy of new jobs and shrinking wages.”