Coalition of The (un)Willing: Can Obama and GOP Leaders Find Compromise on Debt Ceiling? (The Note)

Jul 7, 2011 9:10am

By AMY WALTER (@amyewalter) and Z. Byron Wolf (@zbyronwolf)

Even as the rhetoric on the debt ceiling talks continues to reach new heights – President Obama told the Twitterverse the debt ceiling shouldn’t be used as “gun” to extract tax cuts – the White House is signaling that a private meeting at 11am today at the White House between the President and Congressional leaders will be more than just hot air. 

To help entice Republicans to accept some tax increases, Obama is reportedly going to propose "significant reductions in Medicare spending and for the first time is offering to tackle the rising cost of Social Security."

Meanwhile, ABC's John Parkinson reports that Majority Leader Eric Cantor left the door open for Republicans to accept the shutting of certain tax loopholes. “I have said from day one, we are not for tax hikes on the American people or businesses, and if the president wants to talk loopholes, we'll be glad to talk loopholes,” Cantor said.

ABC's Jon Karl reports that "there is no deal yet, but the ideas under consideration include reductions in spending on the big three entitlement programs:  Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  That would be a huge concession for Democrats.  In return, Republicans would agree to close some big tax loopholes, reducing some deductions and other so-called spending in the tax code as part of a tax reform deal that would also lower corporate tax rates.  The net effect of that tax reform plan would be an increase in tax revenue."

Both sides are going to have to do some serious negotiating within their own ranks as well. While talk of entitlement reform could bring Republicans to concede on some tax issues, Speaker Boehner is going to lose many of his most conservative government slashers almost no matter what he does. This means he's going to need more than a handful of moderate Democrats to get on board. But, with the ranks of the Blue Dogs thinned considerably by the 2010 election, there aren't all that many to choose from. 

Meanwhile, The President's less-than-chummy relationship with House Democrats is going to make a tough sell of sacrificing a sacred cow even tougher.  And, as we noted yesterday, Obama's position on entitlements puts House Democrats into a corner in 2012. They are more than happy to make the campaign a referendum on the Ryan budget and its transformation of Medicare.

As ABC’s Jake Tapper reported yesterday, White House officials "acknowledge that 'conventional political consultants' might recommend against any politician voting for such a measure since it would both change Medicare and raises taxes."

Watch Jon Karl's GMA report on the notion of a grand bargain:



IOWA MEDIA WARS BEGIN. ABC's Russell Goldman reports that Michele Bachmann is up with her first TV ad, a 30- second spot that emphasizes the Minnesota Congresswoman's Iowa roots and staunch conservatism. WATCH HERE. Notably she also pledges to vote against any increase in the debt ceiling. 

Meanwhile, ABC's Jason Volack reports that Ron Paul has purchased $75,000 worth of radio time in the state and the ads are set to start running on Friday. They join Tim Pawlenty who has run two TV ads in the state thus far.

DGA RAISES $11M TO RGA's $22M. DGA announces they've raised $11M for the first six months of the year, and has $8.6M on hand. Earlier this week, the RGA reported raising $22M for the same period. Despite the GOP money advantage, Democrats remain favored to hold onto their two governorships in West Virginia and Kentucky this fall. 

SORRY FOR ‘SEX APPEAL.’ Pawlenty Campaign Chairman Vin Weber quickly apologized for telling a Hill reporter that Bachmann will be a formidable opponent in Iowa, in part because "She's got hometown appeal, she's got ideological appeal, and, I hate to say it, but she's got a little sex appeal too.” Both Weber and Pawlenty have said the comment was inappropriate, according to ABC’s Matt Jaffe. 

ROAD TO VICTORY: The Obama Spin – The LA Times’ Doyle McManus brings these four Obama campaign signposts away from a briefing with David Plouffe
1. “Obama has an opportunity to improve his standing among independent voters… by working with Republicans toward bipartisan deficit-reduction measures.”
2.  “Obama has managed to move toward the center without losing significant support among core Democratic voters.” 
3. “Next year's electorate should include even more minority voters than (2008).”
4. “Obama is a seasoned campaigner who ran a long, tough election campaign in 2008, and he still has the team that helped him to victory in place.” 

PROGRESSIVE YOUTH FRUSTRATED: Should Obama worry about the young liberal base meeting in Washington this week  with the Center for American Progress? ABC’s Amy Bingham writes that, “students attending a liberal-minded Campus Progress Convention in Washington, D.C., said they were frustrated by the man they helped elect in 2008, but nevertheless intended to vote for him in 2012 because he is the lesser of two evils. ‘Do I think that they are going to vote for him? Yeah,’” said Diego Gutierrez, a student at California State University. “‘But are they going to be as energized? Are they going to volunteer the long hours that they did in the '08 election? I don't think so.’” 

RED SOX V. YANKEES AND JETER’S 3000TH: What all little political reporters want to be when they grow up – sports analysts.
Point: ABC’s John Berman, resident Red Sox fan on Derek Jeter’s looming 3,000 career hits record:

Counterpoint: ABC’s Rick Klein, resident Yankees fan on Derek Jeter’s looming 3,000 career hits record: 

DEBT TALKS: THE GRAND BARGAIN. “President Obama and Speaker John Boehner have been discussing a grand bargain to cut some $4 trillion in projected budget deficits over the next 10 to 12 years, according to officials familiar with the talks,” ABC’s Jonathan Karl reports. There is no deal yet, but the ideas under consideration include reductions in spending on the big three entitlement programs:  Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  That would be a huge concession for Democrats.  In return, Republicans would agree to close some big tax loopholes, reducing some deductions and other so-called spending in the tax code as part of a tax reform deal that would also lower corporate tax rates.” This compromise would lead to an increase in tax revenue. “‘We need to do something unthinkable on entitlements.  They need to do something unthinkable on taxes,’” one senior administration official said Thursday.


ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE”: ABC’s Rick Klein and Amy Walter sit down with Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Kentucky, a survivor of the 2010 elections and member of the House Budget Committee. They’ll also talk to David Walker, the nation’s top debt watchdog, and head of the Comeback America Initiative. He has compared the debt ceiling debate to the classic Henry Fonda / Walter Matthau nuke flick “Fail-Safe” in which a mistake sends the U.S. and Russia hurtling toward nuclear war.”“When you’re playing with a tactical nuclear weapon, you don’t want to take the timing device down to the last seconds,” Walker has said.  Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.

REPLAY: YESTERDAY ON “TOPLINE” Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabaman and ranking Republican on the Budget Committee, told us he’s worried about negotiating down to the wire. “I'm really worried about where we're heading if we get a proposal in the 11th hour. It might blow up, and it might not pass,” he said. And Sessions said that if they can’t reach a long-term deal, a short-term extension might have to suffice. Sessions rejected the Democrats’ nuclear option on debt talks – that the President simply declare the debt ceiling unconstitutional. Sessions said that would be an “abuse of power.” Watch the full interview here


@GraniteProfObama's approval #s in NH last four quarters: 46, 46, 44, 46.

@azipaybarahfront-runners for Dem nod for @RepWeiner seat = David Weprin &@rorylancman, according to #newyorkpost. #ny9 #queens

@DavidMDrucker: Politically correct term for "sex appeal" is magnetism. Standard term: Charisma. Not always necessary to win, but helps.

@l_whittington: Ex-Rep. Glenn Nye confirms he won't run again against @scottrigell in #VA02.

@globetrotscott: Just smiled for the Google Street View car – 10th and 52nd in NYC



·           President Obama and Congressional Republicans hold talks at the White House on raising the debt ceiling.

·           Tim Pawlenty attends the Polk County Town Hall in Urbandale, Iowa at 12:30 p.m.

·           Rick Santorum tours Sukup Manufacturing in Sheffield, Iowa at 9:30 a.m. Later in the morning, Santorum discusses job training at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge. At 2:45 p.m., he tours Missouri valley Steel Company in Sioux City, Iowa.

·           Gary Johnson speaks at the annual Two Plus Two poker party, which kicks off the first day of the World Series of Poker at the Winn Hotel in Las Vegas at 5 p.m.

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