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6:45 PM ET, July 12, 2011


 Top Items: 
CBS News:
Obama says he cannot guarantee Social Security checks will go out on August 3  —  President Obama on Tuesday said he cannot guarantee that retirees will receive their Social Security checks August 3 if Democrats and Republicans in Washington do not reach an agreement on reducing the deficit in the coming weeks.
The Politico:
Senate GOP mulls new debt strategy  —  Trying to get out of the political box which they have helped to create, Senate Republicans are actively discussing a new plan under which the debt ceiling would grow in three increments over the remainder of this Congress unless lawmakers approve a veto proof resolution of disapproval.
Erick Erickson / Erick's blog:
Mitch McConnell Just Proposed the “Pontius Pilate Pass the Buck Act of 2011″  —  Editor's note: I decided to make the title less incendiary.  —  Consider the Associated Press's headline right now: “GOP Leader McConnell proposes giving Obama new power for automatic debt limit increase”
Brian Beutler / TPMDC:
The Big Blink?  McConnell Proposes Giving Obama Authority To Raise Debt Limit Alone  —  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has proposed creating an escape hatch for Congressional Republicans, who have put themselves in a box by threatening not to raise the national debt limit …
Michelle Malkin:
Another mortifying McConnell head-banging-against-the-wall moment  —  Longtime readers are familiar with our time-honored tradition of marking inevitable Senate GOP sellout moments with the head-banging-against-the-wall animated gif.  —  Well, it is time to resurrect it again …
Fred Barnes / Weekly Standard:
Republicans Introduce Plan, Go On Offensive  —  The debt ceiling debate continues.  —  Senate Republicans mounted a bold offensive today against President Obama's effort to force them to accept a tax hike as part of a bipartisan agreement to raise the debt limit.
Jackie Calmes / The Caucus:
McConnell Proposal Gives Obama Power to Increase Debt Limit  —  The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said Tuesday that a bipartisan budget deal with President Obama is probably out of reach, and he proposed a plan under which the president could increase …
Andrew Stiles / National Review:
Norquist: Time to Force Obama's Hand  —  Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, says he supports Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's “contingency plan” designed to force President Obama to assume nearly all of the responsibility for raising the debt ceiling.
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Cold Fury
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:
Craven Reign  —  I just finished explaining that Mitch McConnell epic passing of the buck to President Obama amounts to one of the most brazen and open admissions of cynicism I've ever seen.  McConnell is saying: Debt, Schmedt, we'll let you do pretty much anything as long as we've got the politics wired to help us.
Discussion: Daily Kos
Greg Sargent / Washington Post:
Mitch McConnell to Obama: You want debt ceiling raised?  Then raise it yourself!  —  As you've probably heard, Senator Mitch McConnell surprised the political world today by unveiling a new proposal under which Obama can raise the debt ceiling himself — a seeming escape hatch …
Jennifer Rubin / Washington Post:
McConnell's debt disapproval plan
Rich Lowry / National Review:   McConnell's Contingency Plan
The Huffington Post:
Mitch McConnell Debt Ceiling Plan: Senate GOP Leader Offers Alternative To Obama's ‘Grand Bargain’ [UPDATED]
Discussion: Swampland and My Left Nutmeg
Zeke Miller / Politics:
Boehner Says The Debt Limit Increase Is Obama's Problem
Meredith Shiner / Roll Call:
McConnell Outlines Three-Step Debt Contingency Plan
Jennifer Rubin / Washington Post:
EXCLUSIVE: McConnell to Obama: Eat your own darn peas
Damian Paletta / Washington Wire:
470 Business Leaders Urge Congress, White House to Act on Debt
Discussion: Politics and MyFox Philadelphia
Judd Legum / ThinkProgress:
New McConnell Plan: We Get Everything We Want On Debt Ceiling, Plus 12 Opportunities To Bash Obama
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
McConnell fallback plan would leave debt-ceiling hikes to Obama
Rich Lowry / National Review:
More Contingency Plan  —  The initial legislation would authorize …
Lori Montgomery / Washington Post:
McConnell outlines new proposal on debt ceiling
Brian Beutler / TPMDC:
Judo Flip! Boehner Agrees With McConnell That Dems Should Not Be Allowed To Take Debt Limit Hostage
Discussion: The Hill and Daily Kos
Guy Benson /
Guy Benson  —  BREAKING: McConnell Proposes Alternative Debt Ceiling Deal
Discussion: Hot Air, Pajamas Media and The Politico
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
Boehner: avoidable economic crash isn't my problem
Discussion: TPMDC, Booman Tribune and Daily Kos
Greg Sargent / Washington Post:
Boehner's previous pledge to hike debt ceiling goes straight down the memory hole
Discussion: AMERICAblog News
Byron York / Washington Examiner:
Fresh doubt cast on Obama's health care story  —  During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama often discussed his mother's struggle with cancer.  Ann Dunham spent the months before her death in 1995, Obama said, fighting with insurance companies that sought to deny her the coverage she needed to pay for treatment.
Nicholas Ballasy / CNSNews:
Sebelius: Obamacare's Penalty on Small Businesses a ‘Great Incentive’ for Growth  —  ( - Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius told on Monday that a provision in President Barack Obama's health-care law that requires small businesses …
Ezra Klein / Washington Post:
Wonkbook: Why liberals should thank Eric Cantor  —  (KAREN BLEIER - AFP/GETTY IMAGES) I knew the White House wanted a compromise on the debt ceiling.  I just didn't expect them to do quite so much, well, compromising.  —  Here's what appears to have been in the $4 trillion deal they offered …
John Tompkins / Brazosport Facts:
Ron Paul won't seek congressional term in 2012  —  LAKE JACKSON — After serving almost 24 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Ron Paul told The Facts this morning he will not be seeking another term for the District 14 seat.  —  Paul, 75, will instead focus on his quest for the presidency in 2012.
Jeremy Scahill / The Nation:
The CIA's Secret Sites in Somalia  —  Nestled in a back corner of Mogadishu's Aden Adde International Airport is a sprawling walled compound run by the Central Intelligence Agency.  Set on the coast of the Indian Ocean, the facility looks like a small gated community, with more than a dozen …
Igor Volsky / ThinkProgress:
Bachmann: I'm ‘Very Proud’ Of Husband's Ex-Gay Therapy Clinics  —  Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) refused to comment on her husband's Christian counseling clinics, dodging a question from a local ABC News reporter in Iowa about new video evidence showing one counselor telling a gay patient …
Justin Fenton / Baltimore Sun:
Pair tried to steal historical documents worth millions, police say  —  Presidential historian and collector held without bond  —  Barry H. Landau has rubbed elbows with presidents, helped plan inaugurations, and claims one of the largest collections of Oval Office memorabilia outside museums and presidential libraries.
Marc Caputo /
Police reports show different side of Michele Bachmann  —  From complaining about her house being egged to filing a report that she was being held “against my will” in a public restroom, Michele Bachmann has left a trail of police reports showing a seldom-seen side of a presidential candidate.
Reid J. Epstein / The Politico:
N.Y. clerk quits over gay marriage  —  A rural New York town clerk has resigned her post rather than grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  —  “I would be compromising my moral conscience by participating in licensing same-sex couples,” Laura Fotusky, the clerk of the Town of Barker, told POLITICO.
Ian Millhiser / ThinkProgress:
Gingrich Leaps On The Court Stripping Bandwagon, Claiming ‘There Is No Supreme Court In The American Constitution’  —  ThinkProgress filed this report from Pella, Iowa.  —  At an Iowa campaign stop, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) offered a truly bizarre explanation …
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 More Items: 
Katie Glueck / Washington Wire:
Poll Shows Palin Still Stirs Strong Emotions
Discussion: Gallup and MyFox Philadelphia
Carly Fiorina / The Politico:
Big government is not way to stronger economy
Discussion: CNN
Tevi Troy / National Review:
Poll: Only 43 Percent of Jews Would Reelect Obama
Benjy Sarlin / TPMDC:
Alan Grayson Running In 2012 To Stop Democratic ‘Appeasement’
Discussion: Truthdig
Pete Kasperowicz / The Hill:
Lightbulb bill likely headed for defeat in House
Star-Ledger Guest / NJ Voices Guest blog:
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer shows progressive streak
 Earlier Items: 
Megan McArdle / The Atlantic Online:
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Thinks We're Still in the Bush Era
Discussion: AmSpecBlog
Mike Waterhouse / WEWS-TV:
Unruly passenger on flight diverted to Cleveland faces federal charges
New York Times:
Half Brother of Afghan President Is Killed