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Morning EDition: July 7, 2011

Obviously, today's big political story is whether Pres.

Obviously, today's big political story is whether Pres. Obama is really willing to crack the frontline defenses of America's social safety net -- or whether he just wants to look like he is to woo independents and marginalize the Republicans. Either way, debate is raging over whether this is the right way to go. Here's today's Morning Edition:


  • Senate votes on resolution on whether the rich should contribute to deficit reduction.
  • House votes on Pentagon spending amendments.
  • GOP senators will also introduce resolution on whether the president can sidestep Congress on raising the debt ceiling.
  • The Senate Finance Cmte. tries again on trade bills, after GOP blocked relief for workers who lose their jobs resulting from these deals.
  • Congressional Progressive Caucus news conference on opposition to cutting entitlements.


  • Pres. Obama puts Social Security on the chopping block -- despite its irrelevance to the debt.
  • The White House pushes back on the Social Security story. Kinda. Ish.
  • Obama doubles down on endorsing the GOP anti-spending ideology.
  • Greg Sargent: Obama strategy is to campaign on the idea that GOP cuts would have been worse.
  • It's not clear whether Obama is open to cutting benefits or raising the retirement age. Or both.
  • If Obama thinks the sick and elderly should cut back, why did he give big raises to White House staff?
  • Also still unclear: The status of taxes in the emerging deal.
  • Steve Benen suspects the White House is playing politics.
  • And a short-term debt hike may end up buying time for the bigger deal to play out.
  • House Republican Leader Eric Cantor says GOP is unified against tax increases.
  • TPM sees signs of Republican anti-tax fatigue.
  • Republicans say the rich contribute to deficit reduction by buying things.
  • EJ Dionne says House Dems have to draw the line against Draconian cuts.
  • Rep. Peter Welch urges fellow Dems to vote no.
  • Senate Dems rally around the call for a 50-50 balance of spending and taxes. They also want a pony.
  • Business groups call on Congress to raise the debt ceiling.
  • Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) says business must do more to call out politicians on the debt -- then refuses to call out politicians on the debt.
  • Obama admits he screwed up on housing (so why doesn't he try listening now to the people who warned him then?)
  • FDL on the deal the White House reportedly put on the table.
  • Analysis: Real-people questions have different priorities than Beltway-media questions.
  • Chart: Beltway media's out-of-touchness in an easy-to-use graph.
  • Economy added 157,000 jobs in June, twice the expected number.
  • Obama's disingenuous regret about the economy -- he says most economists didn't realize it would be so bad for so long. But some warned it would be exactly that if he enacted the policies he did.
  • Treasury Sec. Geithner says he'll be in his job past Sept. 1. But until when?
  • VIDEO: Boehner will have to pass a debt hike without Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-WI).
  • VIDEO: Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) misleads on taxes with claim that revenues are at a record high.



  • Rail industry fights rules on inspections and on compensation when it spills toxic chemicals.



  • VIDEO: NBA players question owners' financial claims.
  • How the union warned against the conditions that led to Georgia's cheating scandal.


  • Study: Medicaid vastly improves the quality of Americans' lives.
  • States lagging in setting up health-care exchanges may find feds doing it for them.



  • Gov. Rick Perry doubled the state's debt. #fiscalconservative.


  • Dems hold the upper hand in WI fundraising, based primarily on small donations.



  • Murdoch's paper hacked the phones of family of dead soldiers.
  • Report: Arrests loom for Murdoch execs.
  • News International CEO may take a fall.
  • Politico picks up on Murdoch's campaign against Media Matters. Have they hacked MM's phones?


  • Bill Clinton says GOP vote-suppression at its worst since the days of Jim Crow.
  • Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) made the Jim Crow analogy first.
  • And Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I-RI) promptly signs a voter-ID law.



  • His parents considered giving him up for adoption.

(What I'm reading: Greg Sargent's Plum Line, Think Progress, Matt Yglesias, The Wonk Room, Talking Points MemoTPMDC, Taegan Goddard's Political Wire, the Washington Monthly, the National Journal, Ezra Klein, Politico's Playbook and Huddle, Dave Weigel, Wonkette, Firedoglake, the NYT Caucus, Daily Kos, Crooks and Liars. What my iPod has me listening to: I Second That Emotion by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.) 

Follow Senior Producer Jonathan Larsen (@jtlarsen) on Twitter