President Obama’s 67-minute press conference yesterday was as much about setting the parameters of the debate over the debt ceiling as it was setting the tone and the parameters of his re-election campaign. Using his bully pulpit and the White House backdrop, the President delivered a feisty but simple message: Republicans are more interested in protecting their special interest friends than helping struggling middle class Americans.
“I’ve said to some of the Republican leaders: you go talk to your constituents, the Republican constituents, and ask them, are they willing to compromise their kids’ safety so that some corporate-jet owner continues to get a tax break?” Obama said yesterday. “I’m pretty sure what the answer would be.” http://nyti.ms/mkNwrl
Republicans, meanwhile, show no signs of backing down. “The American people know tax hikes destroy jobs,” Boehner said. “They also know Washington has been on a spending binge for many years, and they will only tolerate a debt-limit increase if we stop it.” http://nyti.ms/mkNwrl
So won’t setting the debate on tax terms be a loser for the Democrats? After all, even when Democrats had a majority in Congress they couldn’t agree on voting out the Bush-era tax cuts for fear of getting slapped with the “tax and spend liberal” label in an election year.
But the tax argument may not be that effective for Republicans. A recent poll by AP/GfK showed that when it comes to the issue of taxes, Americans are evenly divided on which party would do a better job on the issue (43% picked Democrats, 44% picked Republicans). Meanwhile, polls also show that a majority of Americans see the best way of solving the deficit problem is through a combination of taxes and spending cuts.
President Clinton, sitting down with ABC’s Jake Tapper in Chicago where his Clinton Global Initiative hosted a conference focused on the economy, saw another path for compromise: “What I’d like to see ‘em do is agree on the outlines of a ten year plan, and agree not to start either the revenue hikes or the spending cuts until we’ve got this recovery underway.”
And, the former president also thought that this president had a good case to make on the economy – and himself – in 2012.
“The so-called stimulus bill actually outperformed expectations, not underperformed, but it wasn’t big enough to lift this whole economy out of the hole it was in. The auto restructuring is working. And I think he’ll be able to point to that.”
And, as Democrats like to point out, this election will not be taking place in a vacuum. “I also think when he gets an opponent, “Clinton said to Tapper, “people will be able to compare what the opponent is promising to what he is.”
“I’ll be surprised if he’s not re-elected. I’ve always thought he would be.”
ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE”: ABC’s Rick Klein and Amy Walter sit down with Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., son of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. Later, they will hear from Emmy-award winning journalist Judy Muller. Muller recently published her second book, “Emus Loose in Egnar: Big Stories from Small Towns.”Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern. http://abcn.ws/toplineliveabc
LIVING HERE IN ALLENTOWN: ROMNEY'S PENNSYLVANIA DEBUT One person who can’t wait to get into the debate over the economy is Mitt Romney. The Allentown Morning Call reports that “Romney will hold a late afternoon news conference at the now shuttered factory, Allentown Metal Works, that Obama toured in December 2009 to boast success of his economic stimulus plan. Earlier in the day, Romney will be raising money in Philadelphia at private events at the Cira Centre and the Union League.” Also in Pennsylvania today raising money is President Obama. http://bit.ly/mNAYJ2
CUOMO AND BROWN: DEM GOVS TAKE DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO BUDGET TROUBLES The Wall Street Journal reports: “Two governors: Each is the Democratic son of a former governor. Each vowed to change his state's dysfunctional government. Each faced a huge budget deficit, powerful public-employee unions and Republican legislators with enough votes to resist tax increases.
Six months into their terms, however, California Gov. Jerry Brown and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are showing starkly different results. Mr. Brown this week reluctantly agreed to eliminate a $27.1 billion deficit for the fiscal year that begins Friday with a budget that features deep cuts but is padded with one-time maneuvers he had pledged to avoid. Stymied by Republican lawmakers, he gave up for now on his quest for tax extensions that would have provided long-term structural fixes to California's finances. Mr. Cuomo, meanwhile, is riding high on several wins, including a New York State budget that closed a $10 billion gap without raising taxes or relying heavily on fiscal tricks.” http://on.wsj.com/jvG1dM
BACHMANN GETS PERSONAL: MISCARRIAGE HELPED SHAPE HER POLITICAL VIEWS Politico reports from South Carolina: “Michele Bachmann says her opposition to abortion and much of her outlook on the world were shaped by a previously undisclosed miscarriage she suffered over two decades ago. Bachmann said the miscarriage led to her and her husband’s decision to take in 23 foster children on top of a family that grew to include five biological children. But, she said, it also prompted them to reconsider their professional lives and goals.” “At that moment we didn’t think of ourselves as overly career minded or overly materialistic,” she said, also speaking for her husband. “When we lost that child, it changed us. And it changed us forever.” http://politi.co/jzWtFj
CULTURE OF DEBT? ABC’s John Parkinson reports that some in Washington, including Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., suggest that Congress follow the lead of everyday Americans and base the federal budget on money coming in. "‘Families do it every day. A husband earns $40,000. A wife earns $40,000. Their total family income is $80,000. That's their budget. That's what they can afford to spend. American families figure out how to live within their means,’ Johnson said Tuesday on the Senate floor. ‘The federal government should be no different. A budget is a number. We should first pick one number, and then a set of numbers, that won't let America go bankrupt.’" “But consumer credit reporting agency Equifax reports that although total consumer debt has declined since 2008, many Americans are still spending money they don't have…And they’re not alone,” Parkinson writes. Many lawmakers have racked up “personal debt valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.” http://abcn.ws/mzN6GO
DCCC LAUNCHES AUTOMATED PHONE CALLS IN 14 GOP CDS ON SOCIAL SECURITY Democrats see seniors as a key to 2012. Their latest salvo try to attach GOP Reps to social security privatization. From DCCC release:
"The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) today launched new automated phone calls to hold vulnerable House Republicans accountable for a new Republican leadership plan to privatize Social Security, the latest part of their war on seniors. The new calls in 14 targeted districts are the latest phase in the DCCC's paid and grassroots ‘Drive for 25’ campaign to win the House. Their new plan to end Social Security as we know it comes from NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions, who is responsible for Republican’s re-election efforts and is supported by the Republican Conference Chairman, Jeb Hensarling. House Republicans already voted for the Republican plan to end Medicare, while protecting subsidies for Big Oil and tax breaks for millionaires."
@pwgavin: Mark Halperin on Morning Joe, assessing POTUS presser: "I thought he was kind of a dick."
@HotlineReid: Wow, big profile of Kurt Bardella in Washingtonian. He did more interviews w/ Liebovich after he was fired #HotlineSort
@brandihoffine: New Q poll – VA Senate race a dead heat. Kaine 43, Allen 42. bit.ly/kiyLuV
@Charlesornstein: Icky. Illinois prison running out of clean underwear, have to keep the same ones on for several days. H/t
* Jon Huntsman attends fundraisers in Boston, Mass. and New York City.
* Ron Paul visits the Northland Restaurant & Dairy Bar in Berlin, N.H. at 4:15 p.m.
* Mitt Romney holds a press conference on the economy at Allentown Metal Works in Allentown, Penn. around 4 p.m.
The Note Futures Calendar: http://abcn.ws/ZI9gV
* Get The Note delivered to your inbox every day.
* For breaking political news and analysis check out The Note blog: http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/