Obama Will Announce Deficit Reduction Plan

President Obama plans to deliver “a major speech” on Wednesday laying out an aggressive plan for deficit reduction — including reform of entitlements, such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Lynn Sweet: “The speech will come as Congress faces a vote on raising the debt ceiling — a matter many Republicans are deadset against. This comes as Obama and Congress finally finished up battles near midnight Friday on the fiscal 2011 budget — almost six months into the fiscal year–only to plunge right into more significant haggling over the fiscal 2012 budget.”

Quote of the Day

“I saw Donald Trump kind of rising in some polls and given his behavior and spectacle the last couple of weeks, I hope he keeps on rising. There is zero chance that Donald Trump would ever be hired by the American people to do this job.”

— Obama adviser David Plouffe, in an interview on ABC News.


Did Glenn Beck Serve His Purpose?

Jennifer Rubin, on Glenn Beck’s departure from Fox News: “In short, Beck is out of fashion in a time of increasingly mature conservative leadership. Yes, there are entertaining talk show hosts who educate and encourage the conservative base (Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved and Bill Bennett come to mind). They make positive contributions to the conservative movement. Beck isn’t one of these. Now is not the time for rants and conspiracy theories.”

Jonathan Chait: “Beck served a couple purposes: He got conservatives revved up about Obama and out on the streets to attend Tea Party rallies and town hall meetings. He established a new standard of right-wing craziness that so was crazy that some pretty nutty right-wingers wound up looking comparatively sane. But his nuttiness has simply grown so obvious that he’s outlived his usefulness to the movement. He’s now ‘out of fashion.’ But fashions can always come back into style.”


Some Perspective on the Budget Deal

The federal debt increased $54.1 billion in the eight days preceding the deal struck last night by President Obama and congressional leaders to cut $38.5 billion in federal spending for the remainder of the fiscal year, CNS News reports.


Obama Sought to Stay Above the Fray

In negotiating a budget deal, the Wall Street Journal reports the White House hope “was that the president, having stepped in late in the game in a bid to break the impasse, could polish his self-styled image as the only adult in Washington. The aim also was to boost his standing with independent voters in the same week he kicked off his re-election effort.”

“But a strategy that was largely hands-off until the last moments carried risks. It could alienate Democrats, some of whom felt Mr. Obama was keener to get a deal than stand up for their priorities. Others were irritated at being scolded like errant children. The strategy also exposed Mr. Obama to criticism that he waited too long to get engaged.”

Skirmish Ends But War Begins

Though lawmakers reached a deal to prevent a government shutdown, a vote to raise the debt ceiling will come in a few months and then there is next year’s budget where the House Republicans are pushing a plan to cut some $6 trillion by tackling entitlement spending.

The Wall Street Journal notes the stakes “are higher in the next round, shifting from worries about closing national parks to concerns the U.S. government could default on its debt, triggering another financial crisis.”

Matthew Cooper: “It’s hard to see how anybody goes into the real battle stronger, prouder. The Democrats had to give on money in order to rid themselves of the effort to staunch the flow of federal money to Planned Parenthood. The Republicans realized how hard it was to shave a few billion off the federal budget. Just wait until they tell seniors that Medicare is about to change big time. Can the White House really go another couple of years without a long-term plan for reducing a federal debt that’s north of $14 trillion now close to 100 percent of our GDP? If they do, they’ll be fighting on the Republicans’ terms.”

“Alas, this little shutdown fiasco ended with both sides having just enough strut and gumption to want to pick another fight. Neither side feels chastened, humbled. They probably should.”

Boehner’s Leadership Tested

The “tense back-and-forth that brought the government to the brink of a shutdown” represented the first big test of House Speaker John Boehner’s leadership “and a glimpse of how the new speaker will handle a job that has had more than its share of challenges: a tough economy, a Democratic president and Senate, a rebellious contingent of inexperienced tea party freshmen, and an ambitious, sometimes fractious team of lieutenants, some of whom have aspirations for Boehner’s job,” the Washington Post reports.

Ezra Klein: “In the end, the real negotiation was not between the Republicans and the Democrats, or even the Republicans and the White House. It was between John Boehner and the conservative wing of his party.”

Though the final deal was $22 billion less than bill the House passed in February, Boehner told The Hill the agreement was “as good a deal as we could get.”


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