Live Blog of Presidential Debate

FINAL BUZZER: Obama definitely “won” the debate, but left a lot of points on the table and missed some opportunities to really clobber Romney.

Romney didn’t fail, but he didn’t impress. That would be well and good if he was the frontrunner, but he’s not. Fed into the narrative that he changes his mind and doesn’t have strong specifics.

8:56: Debate is over. Everyone shakes hands, endless stream of Romney children and grandchildren come on stage.

8:54: Romney closes by promising not to cut funding from military. Really odd choice for a final point, since he can’t win the military/foreign policy issue.

8:52: Will we get one final list from Romney?

“I’ll get incomes up again,” says Romney. How? Magic!

8:51: Closing statements. Obama goes first. Apparently there was a coin toss.

“Four years ago, I said I’m not a perfect man and I probably won’t be a perfect President.” Nice close.

8:50: Nice shot by Obama, who says Romney hasn’t shown a willingness to say no to any extreme idea proposed by his party.

8:48: Obama says he will take ideas from anybody, Democrat or Republican, as long as they are advancing things and making them stronger.

Obama finally mentions Osama bin Laden. That must have been really hard to sit on that card for so long.

8:47: Romney says we have to work together because there is common ground. Has he not seen Congress?

8:45: Lehrer says there are only 3 minutes left, then takes about 2 minutes trying to ask a question about partisan gridlock.

8:44: Hey, look at that. Romney made a funny. He said Obama not entitled to his own facts.

Now he’s back on the $90 billion invested in renewable energy.

8:43: Obama droning on a little.

8:42: It would be hard to be more boring than Romney.

8:41: Things are getting repetitive. Obama answering question about federal government role in education with same points made earlier.

8:40: Lehrer asks for specifics on plans. Romney looks excited — he can’t wait to start another list.

8:39: Romney morphing into a Tea Party robot.

8:38: Romney says that he loves schools and teachers…then says that it’s up to states whether they want more teachers. Dumbass.

8:37: Obama says Romney doesn’t think we need more teachers, “but I do.”

8:36: No idea what Obama is talking about now.

8:34: Lehrer asked another question, but we didn’t catch it. Obama says first role of government is to keep people safe. Romney seems puzzled.

8:32: Romney is brutal. He’s terrible at this. We’re 90 minutes into the debate and he hasn’t said anything memorable. He also hasn’t proved that he can count higher than 4.

8:31: And…momentum stops again. Obama seemed to be on a solid line of attack but never got there.

8:30: Obama coming back to life, lands another shot. Says Romney’s plan is basically what we have already.

8:29: Romney says that key to bringing down healthcare costs is “performance incentives.”

8:28: “#1, #2, #3…” This isn’t a high school debate, Gov’nuh.

8:27: Obama lands minor shot. Says Romney hasn’t said what he’ll do instead of Obamacare. We sense another list coming from Romney.

8:25: Obama not landing any blows despite open shot. Instead he’s trying to explain the “death panel” thing.

8:23: Romney talking about Romneycare. He’s really looking bad now. Just seems completely flustered. He’s like a punch-drunk boxer wobbling around waiting to get knocked out.

8:21: Missed opportunity for Obama here. Took too long trying to make a point that Obamacare is like Romneycare. By the time he got to the punchline, the message was lost.

8:20: Obama clarifying Obamacare. Says “Insurance companies can’t jerk you around.”

8:20: Obama has a great chance to land a huge shot now…and…and…never mind.

8:19: This was inevitable when you just repeat lists. Romney just listed two points, calling each point “#4.” He’s looking silly now.

8:18: Romney trying to be folksy by talking about people he has met who can’t afford health cares. Doesn’t say whether or not he gives a shit, but he’s trying to tell a story.

8:18: Lehrer asks about Obamacare.

8:17: Romney talking about “qualified mortgages.” This is why he’s probably not going to be President. The average American has no idea what the hell he’s talking about.

8:16: Obama says Romney wants to repeal Dodd-Frank. Obama finally comes back to life and says if you think there was too much regulation of Wall Street, then Gov. Romney is your candidate. Body blow.

8:15: This has officially gotten boring. Somebody throw a shoe or something.

8:14: Romney says something about Dodd-Frank. Lehrer interrupts: “Do you support Dodd-Frank?”

America says, “WTF?”

8:12: Lehrer seems flustered. Romney is hurting his brain with listapalooza.

8:11: Obama seems to have been put to sleep as well. He’s talking about…something.

8:10: Does Romney know that he’s not leading this race? Because he’s putting America to sleep with endless stacks of numbers and random facts. Maybe he just wants to make sure he lands the “Accountant” voting block.

8:09: Here comes another list from Romney!

8:08: On a bipartisan note, both men seem to have done a nice job on their facial makeup.

8:07: Romney says the plan they are talking about “is for future people, not current retirees.” Uh…yeah. “Future people.”

8:06: An hour into the debate, here’s Romney’s strategy: List five numbers, mention something about Obama, list five more numbers.

8:05: Romney says our seniors depend on these programs. Says “neither the President nor I are proposing changes for current retirees.” After a beat, Romney says, “Oh wait, there is one.” Another Romney staffer’s head explodes.

8:03: Obama tells story about his grandmother who worked hard but needed Social Security and Medicare. Obama is clearly a much better storyteller than Romney. He’s weaving a narrative rather than just blurting bullet points.

8:02: Lehrer asks about Social Security and other entitlements.

8:00: For the love of Ronald Reagan, stop spewing random numbers, Romney. His response to every question is to say as many numbers as he can in two minutes.

7:58: Romney bursting at the seams to rattle off numbers. Says oil company tax breaks is really just an accounting trick.

Obama: “It’s time to end it.”

Romney flustered by that. Says $90 billion in tax breaks for solar and wind.

$90 billion? That seems a bit high. FACT CHECK!

7:56: Obama now talking about teacher in Las Vegas who has 42 students and not enough books. Where’d that segway come from?

7:55: Obama says oil industry gets $4 billion in corporate welfare. “Does anybody think ExxonMobil needs extra money? Why wouldn’t we want to eliminate that?” These are the kind of lines that really hit home.

7:54: Romney: “Spain spends 42 percent of its budget on government. We’re now spending 42 percent of our budget on government. I don’t want to go down the path to Spain.”

Obama tries to hide a wide grin. The rest of America says, “What’s wrong with Spain?”

7:53: Romney going on and on and on about “trillion dollar deficits.” Whoever told him to list as many facts and numbers as possible should be canned.

7:52: Lehrer asks Romney, “What about Simpson-Bowles”. America responds, “Who the what?”

7:50: Obama getting lost in numbers.

7:48: Obama listing things that he reduced or streamlined. Just listing things like Romney is not Obama’s strong point.

7:46: Romney keeps saying, #1, #2, #3, etc. Plan for debate must have included trying to sound like he was making specific points.

7:45: Romney says he’ll cut PBS and looks at Lehrer. “I love PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too.” But we can’t borrow money from China. WTF?

7:44: Romney goes first. Says deficit reduction is a moral issue, then steps right into the giant hole that Obama just dug for him. Insists that he can lower taxes and everything else and still raise revenue to cut deficit.

7:43: Lehrer asks new question. What are the differences between you two about how you would tackle the deficit.

7:41: Somewhere a Romney advisor’s head is exploding. Romney just babbling tossing out numbers and statistics.

7:40: Romney trying to get the last word — seems to understand he is getting pummeled.

7:38: Another good shot for Obama. “I would say this to the American people. If you believe that we can make $5 trillion in tax cuts and add $2 trillion in additional spending – $7 trillion dollars – by closing loopholes and deductions for the well to do, that you won’t end up picking up the tab, then maybe Gov. Romney’s plan is for you. I think math, common sense, and our history has shown that this isn’t a recipe for jobs growth.”

Obama says Romney’s plan is the same one from 2002-03 that caused economic recession. Says his plan is more like Clinton’s that was successful.

7:36: Romney rattling off a bunch of different numbers and names of taxes. Now floating off into wonk-ville.

7:35: Lehrer says they aren’t on time, as if that was going to be possible.

7:34: Obama wanders off into nowhere and seems to have lost his train of thought.

7:32: Obama lands another big blow. “Now, 5 weeks before election, he’s saying that his big, bold idea is ‘never mind.’ It is not possible to come up with enough loopholes and deductions to accomplish what he [Romney] wants.

“It’s math,” says Obama.

7:31: Romney blathering on about economic studies before Lehrer mercifully cuts him off.

7:30: Romney says he will lower taxes on middle income families but will not raise taxes for high income people. Maybe he’ll tax Canada if elected President of North America.

7:28: Romney says virtually everything Obama said about his tax plan is inaccurate. “I’m not for a $5 trillion tax cut.”

Now for the most ridiculous statement thus far. Romney: “There is no economist who can say Mitt Romney’s tax plan adds $5 trillion if I say I will not add to the deficit to the tax plan.” Economic theory be damned! If Romney says it, then it will happen!

7:25: Obama responds. Says he promised to cut taxes for middle class four years ago, and he did.

Says Romney’s proposal calls for a $5 trillion tax cut on top of $2 trillion spending for military. Says Romney claims he would do this by closing loopholes, but has never mentioned specifics despite being asked hundreds of times.

“When you add up all the loopholes and deductions that the upper class enjoys, you come close to reaching that $5 trillion.” First blow of debate landed. Point: Obama.

7:23: This one is going to come back to bite him in the ass. Romney says he won’t push a tax cut that adds to the deficit.” What fiscal magic is this?

7:22: Romney says, “And by the way, I like coal.” Says he wants to get “North America energy independent.” Is he aware that this election is only for the Presidency of the U.S.?

7:21: Romney makes an absurd argument while Obama smiles. He says that oil and gas production is on the rise, but not because of Obama’s policies. Romney says the increased production is on private lands, not on government land.

7:20: Now Romney is talking about credits and debits and…we fell asleep. Is he done?

7:19: Romney tried coining a phrase “the economy tax.” Says middle income families are struggling. This is the same guy, mind you, who thinks “middle class” make about $200k a year.

7:18: Romney says his plan doesn’t call for a huge tax cut. “My view is that we ought to provide tax relief to the middle class.” Glad he cleared that up. Not a tax cut — a tax relief.

“I’m not going to reduce share of taxes paid by high income people…They’ll do fine whether you’re President or I am.” Romney pulls out a hundred-dollar bill and wipes his brow.

7:17: Uh, okay. Romney is asked if he has a question he’d like to ask Obama about something he just said. Is this Jim Lehrer moderating a debate or a divorce settlement?

7:15: Obama takes first swing of the night. Says Romney’s central economic plan is for a $5 trillion tax cut, and $3 trillion in other cuts and military spending that the military hasn’t asked for. Says how to do this without dumping on middle class is one of central issues in this campaign. Romney smirking.

7:14: Obama talks about more community college students. Close loopholes for shipping jobs overseas. Says that he and Romney both agree that we need to increase energy production in traditional sources and wind, solar, biofuels.

7:13: Obama starts talking about his economic plan. Not sure why he didn’t do that 5 minutes ago.

First point is to improve schools. Talks about “Race to the Top” program. Obama wants to hire 100,000 new math and science teachers. Students everywhere groan.

7:11: Next question for Obama: Respond to the “trickle down economics” theory.

7:10: Romney: I know what it takes to get small business going again. “I’ll restore the vitality that gets America going again.” Whatever the hell that means.

7:09: #3 Give people tools to succeed and best schools in the world. #4 Balanced budget. #5 Champion small business. Romney says that in the last four years, people have decided not to open a small business in America. Apparently they are waiting on Romney’s magic fairy dust…or is that point #6?

7:08: Romney talking about people he met who want jobs. Now laying out his plan. #1 Energy independence, #2 Open up more trade, particularly in Latin America. Crack down on China, particularly when they cheat (is this part of #2?)

7:07: Romney’s turn. “This is obviously a very tender topic.”

7:06: Obama’s answer…kind of blah.

7:05: Obama says question is not about “where we’ve been, but where we’re going.”

7:04: First question about jobs. Obama says his 20th wedding anniversary is today.

7:00: And we’re underway. Barack Obama enters wearing a blue tie, Mitt Romney with a red tie.

Charlotte’s Biggest Loser? Denver Mayor Michael Hancock

Cross-posted from Denver Pols. Just a whopper WTF moment that was the talk of the Colorado delegation for the last two days.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock was in Charlotte this week for the Democratic National Convention, taking part in the DNC not as a delegate but instead to “attend meetings and to promote Denver.”

And what better way to celebrate the Mile High City — where the first debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will be held next month — than attacking the President whose convention you’re attending?

From Eli Stokols at Fox31 Denver:

But Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, in an interview with FOX31 Denver, went off the script, openly criticizing the Obama campaign for its sustained effort to pressure Romney to release his tax returns.

“It’s unfortunate that this campaign has gone all over the place where we’re talking about someone turning in their tax returns, things that really don’t matter to me,” Hancock told FOX31 Denver. “Someone else’s tax returns are not going to put food on the table of my neighbor who may have been unemployed for a year.”

The answer came in response to a question that had nothing to do with tax returns: [Pols Emphasis] “how do you think the president is going to win Colorado?”

“If you talk about the issues that matter to me the most: my safety, my children, my education, my jobs, my health care, now you’ve got my attention, and I’m going to tune in. So we want to turn that conversation back to the things that matter most, and the president’s been doing it. We want him to get more on that platform, and I think you’ll see more of that in this convention.”

Asked to clarify whether he was truly disappointed in the Obama campaign’s focus on Romney’s tax returns, Hancock said this:

“I think it’s my role as a Democrat, as a mayor who supports the president, to say to the president and his people, ‘Listen, it’s not about Romney; it’s about the American people’.

“And that’s just part of being an adviser and a friend and someone who supports you.”

What. The. F***?

First off, Hancock has absolutely no obligation to mirror Obama campaign talking points about tax returns or any other matter, but as the elected mayor of the largest city in a critical swing state — and as someone who thinks of himself as a potential national star — this is a pretty dumb political move. There’s no excuse for Hancock, a Democrat who has previously applauded much of Obama’s work in the White House, to go so far off message, especially when the reporter isn’t even prodding that kind of response…

 

Seriously, Fox31 threw the Mayor one hell of a softball question: “how do you think the president is going to win Colorado?” He wasn’t asked about the economy, about job creation, about bond yields, or anything cerebral or specific. All Hancock had to do was say something to the effect of “Colorado voters understand that Barack Obama’s policies have brought the economy back from the brink and created jobs in Denver and across the state.” Instead, he took that softball and decided to use it to criticize Obama during the freakin’ Democratic National Convention.

We don’t have any reason to believe that Hancock consciously intended to hurt Obama’s re-election campaign. Rather, his asinine remarks are a stark reminder that he is nowhere near ready for primetime politics. This was absolutely an avoidable and inexcusable mistake that Hancock walked into completely on his own. Hancock is one of the highest-profile Democrats in Colorado, but we’d venture to say that just about every other lower-tier Democrat would have been smarter about this.

As stupid as it was for Hancock to unnecessarily criticize Obama, it’s not his fault exclusively. Apparently nobody from the Mayor’s press team went with him to Charlotte. That’s right: the elected, Democratic leader of a major American city was sent into one of the biggest media frenzies of the decade without anyone to assist him. We can’t overstress how uncommon this is — even small-town politicians bring someone with them to manage interviews and appearances. This was an incredibly irresponsible error by Hancock’s staff and the Mayor himself.

Hancock can certainly recover from this, but make no mistake — this is the type of high-profile error that can dog a politician for years. This is a silly, amateurish fumble that makes Hancock look vulnerable to a challenge in 2015. It’s the kind of mistake that creates the wrong perception for such a high-profile politician. And as we all know, in politics, perception is everything.

Three New Polls Indicate Obama May Be Pulling Away

From NBC First Thoughts:

There’s clearly movement toward the president and clearly problems for Romney personally. We had found it in our polling for the last month and it hadn’t shown up everywhere yet. Now it has. The latest evidence: three new polls out today – from CNN, Fox, and Reuters/Ipsos – all showing President Obama leading Romney by seven points or more and at or near 50%. (CNN 52-45%, Fox 49-40%, Reuters/Ipsos 49-42%). What’s more, Romney continues to have an image problem. In CNN, Obama’s fav/unfav is +14, Romney’s -1. And in Fox, Obama’s +12, Romney’s +1. (Ipsos didn’t ask fav/unfav.)[Pols emphasis]

Yes, we know the only poll that really matters is the one in November, but tired political cliches aside, Mitt Romney supporters have to be more than a little concerned by these new numbers. As we’ve always said, the most important figures in any polls are the favorable/unfavorable ratings, and that story does not bode well for Romney. For whatever the reason, people just don’t like Romney. You can talk about issues and the economy all you want, but it’s hard to get elected to any office — let alone the Presidency — if people just flat don’t like you.  

Who Will Win Colorado in the Race for President?

With GOP Candidate Mitt Romney in Colorado and President Barack Obama up next, now is a good time to ask our regular poll question: Who do you think will win Colorado in the Race for President?

As always, we want to know what you truly think will happen — not what you hope will happen or who you support. Poll after the jump.

Who Will Win Colorado in the Race for President?

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Romney and “Rose Garden” Strategy

Interesting stuff from our friends at “The Fix“:

Romney has adopted a classic “Rose Garden” strategy in recent months, largely refusing to engage in extended – or frequent – question and answer sessions with reporters on the trail or sit down with TV anchors for more extended interviews.

Romney is breaking from that course somewhat this weekend, agreeing to appear on CBS’ “Face the Nation” – his first non-Fox News Channel Sunday show interview since announcing he was running for president in 2011. Viewed broadly, what Romney is trying to do is obvious. Republicans believe – and they are almost certainly right – that if the November election is a referendum on President Obama and his handling of the economy, they win…

…The bar a challenger must clear to be considered a credible alternative is admittedly lower than the hurdle an incumbent faces to prove to the electorate that he deserves a second term. But, the bar exists.

That’s why simply running on an “I’m not that guy” strategy isn’t likely going to be enough to get Romney into the White House. Yes, Bill Clinton’s main case in 1992 was that President George H.W. Bush was mishandling the economy. But, Clinton closed the deal only when he was able to sell the public on the notion that he had good – and better – ideas to improve things domestically. [Pols emphasis]

Republicans politicians up to and including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan have suggested in recent days that Romney needs to offer his own alternative, positive vision for the country – not simply run against the vision offered by President Obama.

We agree with “The Fix” here. This strategy can work if you are running for Congress — heck, a bunch of Tea Party Republicans got elected doing exactly this. But President is too big of an office in a time where there is more national coverage from blogs and other online sources.

A poll follows after the jump. What say you, Polsters?

Is Romney's "Rose Garden" Strategy a Good Idea?

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WOW………………What a President…………What a gamble!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just finished watching Brian Williams’ 60 minute program on NBC, covering the remarkable Seal Team Mission that got Bin Laden.

The greatest single military achievement since the Doolittle Raid.

This doesn’t have to be partisan, and the entire hour was totally non partisan. The details and the drama, the emotions and the professionalism of a most competently executed operation, complete with near disaster at the start, followed by calm react and adapt reflexes by the most able military professionals in the world.

Ordered with steel calm, ice water in his veins, by a President that knew failure would doom his Presidency and that had the character to order it anyway.

Another President, at another time, showed the same courage. It ended badly, and his was a bad political end. But President Carter did the right thing, and he’ll always know it.

God bless you, Mr. President, and thank you.

Twelve Reasons Women Will Vote for Obama

(We appreciate the effort scanning these mailers in – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Want to see what the DNC’s been mailing to female likely voters around the country?

Only men currently live at my address, but we briefly had a 30-year-old woman (and regular voter) living with us, and she must have registered to vote here last year at some point.

Here’s 2 of the 12 pieces of mail she’s gotten from the DNC in the last three weeks (posted with her permission, name/address redacted). Hit the comments for the rest, then answer the poll!

Number 13

Pulpit rock

Ten more in the comments. A poll on effectiveness after the jump.

Which one fact is most persuasive in these mailers?

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From Birth Certificate to Gas Prices

We’ve seen the endless attempts to claim that President Obama does not have a real birth certificate and is not a U.S. citizen, blah, blah, blah. The birther conspiracy has been proven false over and over again, but that hasn’t stopped Republicans from trying to keep the nonsense alive.

Which leads us to the latest attempts to accuse Obama of something for which there is no evidence whatsoever to support. From The Washington Post:

“President Obama said he would prefer a gradual adjustment to near $4 a gallon gasoline. President Obama said that. [Pols emphasis] And, unfortunately, the president has put policies in place that have gotten us now to $4 a gallon, or almost, in gasoline prices. We’ve seen it. It was $1.83 when he started as president; it’s over $3.70 now. So the president’s got his wish, and people are furious about it.”

  – Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) during hearing of House energy committee, March 8, 2012

Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise is toeing the Republican Party line here, accusing the president of consciously trying to raise gas prices to wean Americans off carbon fuels. Earlier this month, we determined that Indiana’s Gov. Mitch Daniels deserved three Pinocchios for making similar claims.

We mentioned in our previous column that we hadn’t found a single instance in which President Obama advocated higher gas prices.

Politics is a dirty game. We get that. But flat-out lying by accusing someone of saying something that never happened really crosses the line. There are plenty of attacks you could make on Obama, accurate or not, regarding gas prices and energy — you don’t have to make up quotes for him.

Frankly, we expect more from someone like Steve Scalise, who we all know has publicly said that he wants France to invade Kansas. Steve Scalise said that.

Vote “Uncommitted” at caucus to support Progressive values

Many Democrats are disappointed with the Obama administration’s failure to consistently defend Americans against the destructionist tactics of the extreme right-wing over the last three years. While we acknowledge the many gains that have taken place in spite of the most obstructionist Congress in history, we still have a long way to go. While we strongly support the re-election of the President, we will not allow the issues most important to most Americans to be relegated to the back of the of the Democratic Party bus.

Too often we’ve seen the administration’s leadership falter, beginning with the first moments of the President’s term, when he named an anti-progressive chief of staff to lead his agenda. We shed no tears that Rahm Emanuel has gone, but too many of those strong-arm and financially motivated issues continue to linger.

Still open is Guantanamo Bay, a tribute to torture and policies that have even caused the indictment of the prior President and Vice-President in some countries while no meaningful investigation and action on our own soil has been ordered. American troops are still dying in Afghanistan.

The attack on working families and their children continues. Across the country, local jurisdictions and states have publicly rejected the Secure Communities (SCOMM) program and have told the federal government that they do not want SCOMM to destroy their communities, break families apart, and encourage discriminatory police practices such as racial profiling. The Bush Administration’s No Child Left Behind law and its push toward the privatization of public education exacerbated under programs such as Race to the Top, continues punish families, rather than addressing the socioeconomic root causes of struggling schools and the need to better fund education. We can’t continue these actions and still say we include everyone in the tent.

There are still far too many involved in the Administration related to the financial collapse preceding the election of the President, and we hope that Tim Geitner makes good on his plans to no longer serve as Secretary of the Treasury in a second Obama term. We hope some of the other economic advisors are asked to join him. Eric Holder has done little to inspire confidence in investigating the banking collapse that his former law firm blessed when they gave the OK to a banking-run system that has wrecked home ownership records throughout the country. More prosecutions took place during the Savings and Loan Crisis of the 1980s and 1990s than have taken place at the Justice Department for obvious criminal acts that almost created a new Great Depression.

Hardly a sound was whispered when Treasury and Justice failed to take Standard and Poor’s to task for their favorable treatment of poor-quality mortgage backed securities, while at the same time allowing S&P to hold the country’s debt rating seemingly for ransom in the palm of their hand. Not good enough.

The banking industry has taken far too much from the 99%, which was so well demonstrated through the Occupy Wall Street and related movements, and have given back virtually nothing. The historical “housing settlement” that offers a pittance to those improperly foreclosed upon still does virtually nothing to provide fair treatment to our citizens negatively impacted when that industry stuffed itself with profits. While finally appointing a director to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the President refused to act decisively and sooner with the spine behind the backbone of the CFPB, Elizabeth Warren. We wish her well and success in her effort to become a member of the US Senate as a person with true progressive values.

We have thus far turned our back on landowners and citizens who receive water from underground resources, and failed to put an honest effort into stopping the expansion of fracking, and other failures that are within the control of the administration in the EPA have been left without attention. Further, the administration has shown a keen lack of judgment in the protection of our food supply by appointing Monsanto executives to the FDA.

The campaign arm of the Obama Administration, “Organizing for America” must look to recalibrate its purpose from one hoping to create an army of lemmings, to one tasked with moving towards a constitutional amendment to abolish the effects of Citizens United and work to remove money from politics, not further entrench it through a self-sustaining system that instead circumvents the Democratic Party altogether.

These are just a few issues that cause us to pause.

We encourage Democrats attending the Colorado caucuses on March 6 to register their disappointment with the administration by casting a vote for “uncommitted,” by listing their issues, and by bringing them forth to county assemblies. We urge them to follow through at county assemblies and work to become uncommitted delegates to the national convention.

Make no mistake: we support the re-election of Barack Obama as President of the United States. We also support election of more true progressives, which we believe really are the core of the American public.

We still believe that the Democratic Party is a place for democratically-supported dissent and airing of grievances, and we expect the titular head of the party to listen to the voices of its most dedicated activists.

Andrea Mérida and Dennis Obduskey

Co-chairs, Progressive Democrats of Colorado

At Least He’s Not Your Sheriff

Arizona Sheriff Joe “Asshat” Arpaio is at it again. Seems like a really good use of taxpayer money, don’t it? From CBS News:

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, announced Thursday that his six-month investigation had found that “probable cause exists indicating that forgery and fraud may have been committed” in the release of President Obama’s long-form birth certificate.

The publicity-hungry Arpaio, a strong opponent of illegal immigration who calls himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” said the evidence gathered by his investigators suggests Mr. Obama’s birth certificate and selective service registration card are fakes…

…The 79-year-old Arpaio, who has been accused by the Justice Department of racial profiling and who is being probed by a federal grand jury over potential abuse of power, said he told his investigators to examine the president’s documents with “no preconceived notions,” adding that he “felt that this investigation could clear President Obama’s name and put people’s minds at ease.”

Arpaio became Maricopa County sheriff in 1993, and has been elected five times. He said the investigation, undertaken by his five-member volunteer “Cold Case Posse” at the request of an Arizona Tea Party group, did not involve any cost to taxpayers.

So how exactly does a 6-MONTH INVESTIGATION not involve taxpayer money if Arpaio “directed his investigators” to work on the issue? Is he admitting, then, that he requires investigators to do his bidding off the clock?

Obama’s “Base Problem” Doesn’t Really Exist?

Interesting stuff from our friends at “The Fix“:

One of the most persistent story lines for the president has been that the liberal left has grown increasingly dissatisfied with his actions (or inaction) on some of its priorities – including single-payer health insurance, the extension of the George W. Bush tax cuts and whether to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

But an examination of the polling data among key subgroups that constitute Obama’s base makes clear that he has as much support from them as any modern president seeking a second term.

“There is one immutable fact about President Obama’s reelection chances: Nobody has a more solid 44 percent base than he does,” Democratic pollster Peter Hart wrote in a not-entirely-uncritical memo assessing the state of political affairs a year out from the election…

…At the heart of the president’s enduring strength among his base are African Americans who have never wavered in any meaningful way after 95 percent of black voters opted for the Illinois senator in 2008…

…That’s a reality that even Republicans acknowledge.

“Anyone who thinks African Americans are not going to turn out and vote in numbers similar to 2008 are fooling themselves,” said Glen Bolger, a leading GOP pollster. “There is no way they are going to say, ‘Well, we didn’t get everything we wanted from making history, so let’s sit on our hands.’ ”

The story in “The Fix” highlights a point that we’ve been making repeatedly here: President Obama’s approval ratings are a number that are measured against himself, and not against a hypothetical opponent. In other words, as much as voters may or may not be disappointed with his first term, they still have to choose between re-election and the Republican candidate — the latter of which appears to be a less-than-enthralling choice no matter who emerges from the primary.  

We’re SO Popular

Colorado is the place to be this week, particularly in Denver. As The Denver Business Journal reports:

President Barack Obama will be in Denver on Tuesday and Wednesday to tout the jobs plan he is trying to push through Congress as well as to raise campaign funds.

And his Environmental Protection Agency chief will visit Denver on Monday.

Obama is slated to arrive Tuesday night on Air Force One. He has a fundraising appearance slated that night, The Denver Post’s Allison Sherry reports. Obama will appear at the Pepsi Center with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, according to Hancock’s schedule.

The president will speak Wednesday morning at the Auraria campus in support of his American Jobs Act, the White House announced.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson is speaking this morning at National Jewish Health in Denver as part of a discussion on Colorado’s “Clean Air, Clean Jobs” effort.

Obama: Troops in Iraq Will Be Home for Holidays

From MSNBC:

President Barack Obama on Friday declared an end to the Iraq war, one of the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history, announcing that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from the country by year’s end.

“As promised the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over,” Obama said.

“Today I can say that troops in Iraq will be home for the holidays.”

PDC Co-Chair suggests Obama Challenger “might get his attention as little else seems to have”

Dennis K Obduskey, Co-Chair of the Progressive Democrats of Colorado[PDC-PDA]suggests that it is time for a primary challenger to President Obama.

Dennis is also vice-chair of the Park County Democratic Party, a member of the State Central Committee, a member of the State Executive Committee from the Central Rural Region, a member of the state Platform Committee from House District 60, a member of the state Outreach Committee from the 6th Congressional District, and serves as secretary/treasurer for Senate District 4 and House District 60.

What he has to say undeniably carries weight among rank and file Colorado Democrats.

If Democratic Party Principles mean anything anymore, We Must have a Primary Challenger to Obama.

He is more a Moderate Republican then a Democrat.

He has done more to Split the Democratic Party than any politician I can remember, especially in Colorado in the 2010 Senate Nomination Primary.

His is Republican Rule. All progressive groups should Call for Primary Challengers.

If Obama should again win the primary, having had a respectful debate over Democratic Party Principles would unite rank and file Dems behind him.

An Open Letter to President Obama

Dear Mr. President,

Like most Americans, I had high hopes for a lot of change.  Among my highest hopes was that you would change the toxic political culture in Washington.  You have been the statesman I expected you to be, and tried valiantly to be bipartisan and to compromise.  However, your efforts have been met mostly with vitriol and partisanship.  It is clear that most Republicans and their leadership have one goal and only one goal-to see that you are a one-term President, period.  And they are willing to go to any lengths-including threatening to purposely default on our sovereign debt and further damage our still fragile economy.  They even refused to fund the FAA and put 70,000 people out of work.  All because they care more about their personal political interests than the national interest.  Their insane strategy to sacrifice the wellbeing of the people they claim to represent, not to mention our country’s reputation, simply to reclaim political power, is unconscionable and unacceptable, and they must be stopped.

Dear Mr. President,

I know you have lots of professional advisors, though it seems clear to me that they have not been serving you or our country well.  So I thought I would offer my advice.

I worked hard for your election in 2008, as many thousands of other people across our country.  In fact, I was so inspired by your candidacy, I ran for and was elected statewide as an Obama Delegate-at-Large from Colorado.  About 6 weeks after my election, I switched places with a female alternate (who had received fewer votes) to allow the Colorado delegation to achieve the perfect gender balance required by the Democratic National Committee.  Nonetheless, I enthusiastically served as an alternate delegate and member of Colorado’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention.  And I continued to work hard for your election-I was a neighborhood team leader, organized phone banks, and knocked on doors to get your supporters to the polls right up until 7 o’clock on election night.

Like most Americans, I had high hopes for a lot of change.  Among my highest hopes was that you would change the toxic political culture in Washington.  You have been the statesman I expected you to be, and tried valiantly to be bipartisan and to compromise.  However, your efforts have been met mostly with vitriol and partisanship.  It is clear that most Republicans and their leadership have one goal and only one goal-to see that you are a one-term President, period.  And they are willing to go to any lengths-including threatening to purposely default on our sovereign debt and further damage our still fragile economy.  They even refused to fund the FAA and put 70,000 people out of work.  All because they care more about their personal political interests than the national interest.  Their insane strategy to sacrifice the wellbeing of the people they claim to represent, not to mention our country’s reputation, simply to reclaim political power, is unconscionable and unacceptable, and they must be stopped.

This is not to say that we don’t have a long term debt problem that must be addressed.  However, what we need right now is jobs, and tying a routine bill to raise the debt ceiling to a debate about how to address the debt problem was not only completely unnecessary, but obviously counterproductive.  I wish you would have dispensed with this manufactured crisis by invoking the 14th Amendment which states, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law…shall not be questioned.”  This debt was already authorized by the authorization acts passed by Congress and signed into law.  Instead, you chose to continue to negotiate in good faith with Republican leadership that only wanted to ensure you failed.  As a result, we will now have several more months of angst and uncertainty while a “super committee” of Congress is formed and attempts to negotiate additional deficit reductions.  

While I know it is hoped that this committee will agree on a balanced approach of budget cuts and additional revenues, history provides scant evidence that this committee, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, will agree on anything.  In fact, all six of the Republican committee appointees have signed Grover Norquist’s pledge to not raise taxes-ever-in spite of the fact that taxes are lower than they have been in decades, and the fact that almost two-thirds of Americans support fairly increasing taxes on wealthy individuals and businesses.

Business, consumers, investors, and Standard and Poor’s all know this history of Republican intransigence, and now we find ourselves on the brink of another financial crisis, perhaps a double-dip recession.   Consumer confidence and factory orders are both down.  People are afraid.  The stock market has been up and down like a roller coaster since Standard & Poor’s downgraded our debt rating.  In fact, the Dow has lost a total of 2,000 points in the last few weeks as Congress has done nothing but play irresponsible politics.  

It’s ironic that we have all collectively lost more in our personal investments than the wealthy would have ever paid with a modest tax increase, not to mention that taxpayers may eventually have to pay more in interest for every dollar borrowed.  This all because uncompromising Republicans refuse to even consider raising taxes.  It’s no wonder Congress’ approval rating is at an all-time low of 14 percent.

Republicans say we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem, and point to Medicare and Medicaid as the primary culprits.  However, the evidence shows we don’t have a Medicare or Medicaid problem.  We have a systemic health care cost problem.  This cost problem stems from continuing double-digit annual increases in health care costs, aggravated by demographics with thousands of baby boomers becoming eligible for Medicare each day.  

You recognized the best way to significantly reduce costs was to replace the current system which spends 25 percent of every healthcare dollar on administration and profits, with a single-payer system, similar to Medicare, that spends only about 5 percent on administration.  However, you gave up even on the public option, and Republicans are promising this super committee will repeal even the modest reforms that did pass.

It is unfathomable that our elected representatives in Congress have manufactured this financial crisis that has resulted in the downgrading of our national credit rating and threatens the global economy.  It is equally unfathomable that no one has taken bold and decisive action to try to stop them.  Yes, you have tried to subtly embarrass and cajole Congress into doing the right thing.  But Republicans are determined to advance their political agenda and poison your chances for re-election at any cost.

Worse yet that this debt ceiling debate and entirely avoidable financial crisis has sucked all the oxygen out of the room and distracted us from focusing on job number one-growing the economy and creating jobs.

So what can be done now?  You took bold and decisive action before to prevent our economy from going over a cliff.  We need you to do that again, and we can’t risk continued uncertainty by waiting until November or December only to find this super committee can’t make the hard decisions.  We know that uncertainty is the last thing our economy needs right now.  Businesses, investors, consumers, and economists all agree on that.  We need you to take bold action now to restore confidence and get our economy moving again:  

1. Call Congress back from their month-long recess, showing that you understand the seriousness of the situation and are willing to take the bold and decisive action necessary.

2. Make clear to Congress and to the American people that we all know the truth-that this crisis was manufactured for political gain.

3. Provide Congress a plan with specific common sense proposals, including those that already have bipartisan support, to reinvigorate the economy and create jobs including establishment of an infrastructure bank, a new highway bill creating or saving 600 thousand additional jobs, patent reform to bring innovative products to market quicker and creating more jobs, extending the payroll tax cut, and the fair extension of unemployment compensation.

4. Put back on the table your “grand bargain” that sought balanced deficit reduction of $4 trillion over a decade, a goal also endorsed by Senator John Kerry.  The United States must show the markets that it is “deadly serious about dealing with its long-term structural debt”.  Make clear that you and the American people expect and demand Congress make the compromises necessary to get a balanced, comprehensive deal done-now.

5. If you are re-elected, develop a new strategy citing the most compelling evidence to sell a single-payer health care system to the American people as the only feasible option to fix an uneconomical and unsustainable system.

All the polls show the American people have lost their patience and are absolutely disgusted with Congress.  We don’t need another super committee.  We need a super President.  You are in the most powerful position in the world-please use it.  The people will wholeheartedly support you and thank you for being the strong leader we need right now.  Taking bold and decisive action will also re-energize your base, and help recapture the hope that all those that voted for you had for our country.  It may not just save our economy, it may be the only hope to save your Presidency.

Sincerely,

Jeff Hart

Denver, Colorado

Do you aree that the President should take these actions?

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‘Is This A One Term Presidency?’ CBS’ Bob Schieffer asks David Axelrod On Obama

Perhaps the Democratic Party WILL have a Presidential Primary.

Bob Schieffer was enjoyably prickly today as he interviewed President Obama’s campaign advisor David Axelrod. After playing a clip of Obama from the beginning of his presidency telling Matt Lauer that three years later Americans will be able to determine whether he deserves a second term, Schieffer posed the question rather bluntly to Axelrod. “Is this going to be a one-term presidency?”

The question prompted this exchange, which seemed to leave Axelrod a bit shaken.

View it at http://bit.ly/nMw2jD

Axelord: “We are in a different place than we were the day he did that interview.”

Schieffer: “We are, things are worse than they were.”

And after Axelrod elaborated with a meandering answer, Schieffer interrupted his “extended response” and respectfully suggested he “stop talking about what the election is going to be about.” Instead Schieffer focused on what could be done now, and wondered whether he was wrong to think that nothing would get accomplished before the election. Axelrod politely informed him that yes, he was wrong, and that big things can still be accomplished. However, Schieffer’s visible skepticism and agitation with some of Axelrod’s long-winded responses suggest that Schieffer, like many Americans, may be eager for results.

Obama Primary Challenge Encouraged by Progressive Caucus of Calif. Democratic Party

From an article in Dick & Sharon’s LA Progressive – Read the whole article here: http://bit.ly/o802iY

“On Saturday, July 30th, 2011, an estimated 75 members of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party (CDP) passed a resolution in support of a Democratic Party Presidential Primary challenge to President Barack Obama. Gathering in Anaheim during an Executive Board meeting of the CDP, the group overwhelmingly endorsed the resolution following a discussion on the importance of not only challenging the far-right agenda of unmitigated corporate greed but also the current administration’s willingness to slash 650-billion dollars from Social Security and Medicare.”

Immediately, it appeared that the powers that be within the California Democratic Party tried to suppress and censor the effort.

The Progressive Caucus: “we recognize that a Primary challenge will, in fact raise debate on important issues without risking the ability to mobilize and energize the base of the Democratic Party to elect a triumphant leader to counter the far-right agenda.

Therefore, be it resolved, to make our views heard, the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party will begin the process of contacting other Democratic organizations, Democratic Party members and public organizations that share our views and which seek to change the course of history by exploring other steps necessary to effect a necessary change, including a possible primary challenge against President Obama”

Rank and File Democrats are very disappointed in Barack Obama.  Many are saying they may not vote at all, which would have disastrous consecquences for the party in the US House and Senate and in Statehouses across America.

As far as I know this is the first group within any State Democratic Party organization to do this.  Does anyone know if PDA, Progressive Democrats of America (which operates “within” the Party) plans to support a Primary Challenge?  

How about the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC)?  Any plans for supporting a Primary Challenge there?

I believe that the only way Obama can restore his relationship with and rebuild ‘trust’ with the Democratic Base is to debate Democratic Party principles and values with a lefty Democrat.

What do the rest of you think?

Obama Scolds Congress on Budget Talks

UPDATE: There’s an interesting CBS News story (h/t to SSG_Dan) today about how quickly we forget that a similar fight happened before, under George W. Bush:

Just a few short years ago, a president sent a request to Congress for a simple, but expensive piece of legislation. President Bush asked lawmakers for a $700 billion blank check to rescue the troubled financial sector that was on the verge of collapsing and taking the US economy down with it.

Both parties in Congress balked. And when the Democratic controlled House of Representatives failed to pass the TARP increase, the markets responded. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped over 777 points after the House vote on September 29, 2008. The Senate came to the rescue by passing the program and the House quickly followed suit…

…Could the legislative game of chicken that eventually passed the TARP program be on tap as Washington steams toward the August 2nd date of the Government being unable to pay its bills?

Unfortunately, not. The 777 point drop, the largest single day point drop in history, could look tiny compared to what could happen if the nation’s credibility to pay its debts is challenged. If world markets lose faith in the American economy, there not be a chance for a second vote if there is any failure to raise the debt limit.

We ask the same question that we asked below: If the budget talks crumble and the economy continues to tank, are Republicans really sure that voters won’t blame them come 2012?

—–

Our friends at “The Fix” give a rundown on President Obama’s press conference this morning:

Obama is quite clearly now using the bully pulpit afforded him by the presidency to cast himself as the adult in the room on the debt ceiling.

One example: He flat-out rejected the idea of a short-term deal – 30, 60, 90 or even 180 days – on the debt ceiling by noting that “this is the United States of America, and we don’t manage our affairs in three-month increments.” (Hard not to hear parental echoes in that line; “That’s not the way we do things in this house….”)

And while Obama avoided taking the sort of direct shots at Republicans that he did during his late June press conference, he still emphasized that adopting a “take your ball and go home” mindset is not acceptable.

“If everybody gets into the boat at the same time, it doesn’t tip over,” Obama said at one point. At another he argued: “American democracy works when people listen to each other.”

Congressional Republicans continue to flat-out refuse to discuss any revenue generating proposals, using the “tax increase” rhetoric as often as they can spit it out. Republicans believe that a down economy probably benefits them politically in 2012 (and some, like Michele Bachmann, are even saying it out loud), but this debate may be happening a year too early for the GOP. If a budget compromise is not reached, a year from now will Americans blame Obama or Republicans in Congress? Republicans may want to make sure that their message isn’t peaking too soon.

Obama to Announce 33,000-Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan

From Politico:

President Barack Obama is expected to announce on Wednesday his plan to withdraw by the end of 2012 the 33,000 additional surge troops sent to Afghanistan, with at least 5,000 personnel – a brigade – to exit by the close of this year, administration officials told POLITICO.

Obama has yet to determine the precise pace of the drawdown that he will outline during an 8 p.m. ET address to the nation from the White House, people familiar with the situation said.

Following the withdrawal of the brigade in 2011, the president also is considering removing an additional 5,000 troops from Afghanistan by next spring, the sources said.

Whatever the pace, all 33,000 forces that were part of the surge would be gone by the end of 2012, sources told POLITICO.

Katherine Archuleta Named National Political Director for Obama

Big news for one of Colorado’s finest. From The Huffington Post:

President Barack Obama’s re-election team has chosen Katherine Archuleta of Denver to be his national political director. The campaign told CNN that Archuleta will also be the first Latina to hold that position “on a major presidential campaign.”

Archuleta is currently the chief of staff to Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis.

Before her work with Labor Secretary Solis Archuleta was a big force in Colorado’s hispanic community, working as an aide for Mayor Federico Pena–the first, and so far the only, Hispanic mayor of Denver. When President Clinton appointed Pena to Secretary of Transportation, he named Archuleta chief of staff in 1996 and 1997. Later in 1997 when Pena became the new Secretary of Energy, Archuleta was named senior policy advisor.

Archuleta’s most recent Colorado ties were as a Senior Advisor to then-Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper in 2008.

Wait, Wait, Wait…Herman Cain???

According to a new poll from Zogby, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain (yes, that Herman Cain) has emerged as one of the top two choices for the Republican nominee for President.

Seriously. Here’s the odd news:

Herman Cain trails only Chris Christie as the top choice among Republican primary voters in the race for the 2012 Presidential nomination. Mitt Romney ranks fourth, but voters see him as the most likely nominee by a wide margin over the rest of a 13-person field.

One-half of GOP voters say they would never vote for Donald Trump, and more than 30% say they would never vote for Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul.

These results are from an IBOPE Zogby interactive poll of 1,377 Republican primary voters conducted from May 6-9.

This can’t be written off as a complete outlier, either, because the high negatives for Donald Trump, Sarah Palin and friends is consistent with other polls of late.

We’ve said before that it’s going to be extremely tough for Republicans to defeat President Obama in 2012, but if the GOP ends up with Herman freakin’ Cain as their nominee, we might as well just skip the election and jump straight to Obama’s second term.  

Tancredo accuses Obama of intentionally withholding birth certificate to make birthers look “nuts”

Oh Tommy, Tommy, Tommy. You must feel like Gollum without his Precious, in the absence of press coverage. So you trot out this gem:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…

What next: Obama knew where Bin Laden was hiding all along, but waited to kill him until “Celebrity Apprentice” was playing?

Sheesh. Stay classy, Tom.

Did Obama hide the long-form to make Birthers look bad?

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Obama Releases Long-Form Birth Certificate; Can We Grow Up Now?

The White House issued a press release today that includes the long-form birth certificate of President Barack Obama, showing (again) that Obama was indeed born in the United States. As Politico reports:

In an extraordinary move, President Barack Obama on Wednesday sought to put an end to questions about his citizenship, releasing a longer version of his birth certificate and calling on the media and conspiracy theorists to move on.

“We do not have time for this kind of silliness,” Obama told reporters in the White House briefing room. “We’ve got better stuff to do. I’ve got better stuff to do.”

Businessman Donald Trump escalated the issue in recent weeks, thrusting the story back into the headlines and, as Obama scolded the media Wednesday, diverting attention from more important issues.

Obama said the nation’s work will not get done if people are “making stuff up” and getting distracted by “sideshows and carnival barkers.”…

…”Normally, I wouldn’t comment on something like this,” Obama said. “I’ve got other things to do.”

But Obama said he decided on the release because the conspiracy theory over where he was born had eclipsed the debate on the budget several weeks ago.

We’re under no illusion that the release of Obama’s long-form birth certificate will finally quiet the conspiracy theorists, Tea Partiers and those who make money playing to them (like Peter Boyles, who plans to keep on keeping on with the birth certificate nonsense). But what this move should do is put a stop to any birth certificate stories appearing in any legitimate media outlets.

There was never a real excuse for the media to play host to this nonsense conspiracy theory, but now…no newspaper, TV network or any other outlet has any justification whatsoever to continue to run stories about this. If a legitimate news outlet continues to play up this story as though Obama’s citizenship were actually in question, then they might as well start running daily stories about how the moon landing was faked and how Elvis and 2Pac are living together on a deserted island.

If any legitimate news outlet continues this story now, they’re basically saying, We don’t care about facts. At all. It doesn’t matter if a reporter has quotes from various people saying, “I don’t believe Obama was born in the U.S.,” because that opinion is completely and utterly absurd and irrelevant. You can’t run with a story just because you have quotes from people who don’t know or don’t care about the truth.

This story should have been over a long, long time ago. But it is definitely over now.  

Obama Calls Boehner, Reid to White House for Budget Talks

The latest on a looming government shutdown from Politico:

House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are headed back to the White House Thursday afternoon to continue budget negotiations, which Reid says have stalled over abortion and clean air add-ons.

Congressional leaders and President Barack Obama have until midnight Friday to agree on billions in budget cuts and strike a deal on the hot-button social riders, a goal all three players say they want to reach, but a heavy-lift with 36 hours to go.

The GOP has been working overtime to blame Democrats for any possible shutdown, while Democrats say that Boehner is being held hostage by the right wing of his conference, that wants deeper cuts and social issues tacked on.

At stake are the real-world consequences of a inoperable government, including potentially unpaid furloughs for 800,000 workers, alongside political consequences for both parties.

Reid said Thursday he’s “not nearly as optimistic” about reaching a deal as he was last night because Boehner’s emphasis has shifted from a spending-cut target. [Pols emphasis]

We’ve said it again and again, folks. Republicans made their bed with the Tea Party all cozy right next to them, and now there’s no good way out of it for Boehner and friends. Republicans will try to blame a shutdown on Democrats, but that gets harder as Tea Party activists openly call for a shutdown to happen.

It’s starting to look like no matter what happens, there’s no real “win-win” scenario for Republicans.