10:10: The President and Vice President meet with governors at the White House
1:0: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
The President will participate on Tuesday in his first television interview since the election. Bloomberg’s White House correspondent Julianna Goldman will do the questioning. According to a preview, they will discuss the fiscal cliff and his priorities and agenda for his second term. The interview will air at 12:30 p.m. EST on Bloomberg TV. (See here)
Paul Krugman: It goes without saying that the Republican “counteroffer” is basically fake. It calls for $800 billion in revenue from closing loopholes, but doesn’t specify a single loophole to be closed; it calls for huge spending cuts, but aside from raising the Medicare age and cutting the Social Security inflation adjustment – moves worth only around $300 billion – it doesn’t specify how these cuts are to be achieved. So it’s basically the Paul Ryan method: scribble down some numbers and pretend that you’re a budget wonk with a Serious plan.
….. for all the seniors or near-seniors who voted Republican because you thought they would protect Medicare from that bad guy Obama: you’ve been had.
NYT Editorial: ….. under pressure from the White House, Republicans finally released their opening position in the negotiations – a remarkably shallow one that demonstrated a lack of seriousness in negotiations, or farsightedness in policy.
…. The only way to produce the necessary revenue is to combine some limits on deductions with an end to the Bush tax cuts on the rich, and Mr. Obama, fortunately, has been adamant he will not consider any plan that does not do so. The Boehner letter, by contrast, actually advocates lowering rates, suggesting that Republicans are still clinging to the notion, rejected by voters, that was put forward by Mitt Romney.
….. Monday’s offer may simply be intended to show the most conservative Republicans that their leaders fought before the compromises to come. For everyone else, they show a party unwilling to approach the bargaining with responsibility.
Eugene Robinson: How dare he? President Obama, I mean: How dare he do what he promised during the campaign? How dare he insist on a “balanced approach” to fiscal policy that includes a teensy-weensy tax increase for the rich? Oh, the humanity.
…. “Right now, I would say we’re nowhere, period,” said Boehner. “We’re nowhere.”
Not true. It’s just that we’re somewhere Republicans would prefer not to be. We’re just past an election in which Obama won a second term and Democrats gained seats in both houses of Congress. And we’re nearing a “fiscal cliff” of tax increases and budget cuts that horrify Republicans more than Democrats.
… There is no guarantee that Obama will get everything he wants out of this showdown. But I’d rather be playing the president’s hand than Boehner’s.
Steve Benen: The general trend on initial unemployment claims over the last few months has been largely encouraging, despite occasional setbacks, but today’s report is the best we’ve seen in quite a while.
About a month ago, initial jobless claims matched a four-year low, and as of today, they managed to get even better, exceeding expectations by dropping to the lowest level since February 2008:
The number of Americans who filed requests for jobless benefits fell by 5,000 last week to 348,000, the lowest level since February 2008, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday…..
Greg Sargent: How Romney used to respond to high gas prices: An important scoop from Alex MacGillis, who discovers that Romney (who is now bashing Obama over high gas prices) responded to them when he was Governor of Massachusetts just as Obama has been:
Befitting his profile as a moderate Republican who cared about the environment, Governor Romney responded to price spikes by describing them as the natural result of global market pressures and by calling for increases in fuel efficiency – the same approach that he now derides Obama for taking as president.
Key Romney quote from 2006: “I don’t think that now is the time, and I’m not sure there will be the right time, for us to encourage the use of more gasoline. I’m very much in favor of people recognizing that these high gasoline prices are probably here to stay.”
Steve Benen: When Eric Fehrnstrom, the communications director for Mitt Romney’s campaign, appeared on CNN, he couldn’t possibly have predicted how much trouble he was about to cause for his boss.
…..Tabitha Hale tweeted this afternoon, “This Etch-A-Sketch situation is not going to go away… maybe ever.”
I’m very much inclined to agree. The knock on Romney since Day One has been that he’s a shallow, unprincipled politician, willing to say anything to anyone to win. “Etch A Sketch” is so perfect a metaphor, it’s extraordinary that it came from the candidate’s own communications director.
Howard Kurtz: ….. In a phrase so potentially damaging it might have been hatched in a laboratory by James Carville, Romney communications director Eric Fehrnstrom bobbled a routine question on CNN….
….. His response: “Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch-a-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”
The unmistakable image: Romney has no fixed principles. Forget about what he’s saying in the primaries, all we have to do is hit the reset button. His positions are no more firmly held than the leaden particles that form those boxy images on the screen and then dissolve with a mere shake.
ThinkProgress: During an interview with Public Radio International’s Marketplace, President Obama defended the individual health insurance mandate and reiterated that likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney enacted a very similar policy as governor of Massachusetts. “[W]e designed a program that actually previously had support of Republicans,” Obama told host Kai Ryssdal, “including the person who may end up being the Republican standard bearer and is now pretending like he came up with something different.”