Liberals put Obama on notice to lay off entitlements 

With President Obama set to give a speech tomorrow afternoon laying out his strategy for reducing the long-term debt, liberal groups spent Tuesday warning him to back off Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security -- the biggest drivers of long-term debt.

The Huffington Post reports on an email the Progressive Change Campaign Committee sent out to its list, urging its members to sign the following pledge to withhold any donations to Obama:

"President Obama: If you cut Medicare and Medicaid benefits for me, my parents, my grandparents, or families like mine, don't ask for a penny of my money or an hour of my time in 2012. I'm going to focus on electing bold progressive candidates -- not Democrats who help Republicans make harmful cuts."

Meanwhile, the Strengthen Social Security Campaign, a coalition of 300 unions and liberal activist groups, has warned Obama against even talking about the program in the context of debt reduction. A letter (PDF) the group sent to Obama warns, "we are writing to urge you to state in your speech this Wednesday, April 13, that Social Security should not be part of deficit discussions or any deficit package or process."

The warnings from liberal groups underscore what a tight spot Obama is tomorrow. As David Freddoso argued earlier, Obama can't afford to give another unserious speech about the debt crisis after years of posponing the issue. At the same time, if he does get real, he'll risk a fierce backlash from his base.

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Philip Klein

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