Morning Examiner: Ben Benanke to stump for Ron Paul 

The Fed: No, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is not scheduled to appear at a campaign event for Ron Paul today. But he might as well be. Today, Bernanke will become the first fed chairman ever to take on-the-record questioning from the media. The press conference is designed to make the Fed less controversial by making its decision-making process more transparent. This will fail miserably. Increasing the Fed’s visibility will only turn it into a more inviting political target. And the Fed is Paul’s bread and butter. With both Paul and former-New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson in the race, look for issues like auditing the Fed to become real tests for the GOP field. Birtherism will be a punchline. The Fed will win votes.

Geither exposed: The Washington Post confirms today, what conservatives have been saying all along: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has unlimited discretion on how and when to pay America’s bills and the only reason the federal government would ever default is if Geithner chose to do so. From today’s paper: “Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has already begun juggling the books to conserve cash … he has a range of tools at his disposal, including borrowing money from a pension fund for federal workers. Geithner also has authority to pay investors first for interest they’re owed on the debt, according to a decades-old legal opinion. … During a 1985 debt-limit fight, the GAO concluded that the Treasury secretary ‘does have the authority to choose the order in which to pay obligations of the United States.’” The Post does note Treasury claims that markets will be spooked by Congressional inaction, but as our own Philip Klein has reported, savvy Wall Street investors have already priced this uncertainty in.

Townhall battlegrounds: The number of incidents at Republican townhalls is definitely increasing. But as Slate’s David Weigel notes, the phenomenon is vastly different than it was in 2009: “[T]here is no dominant outrage at the town halls. There is not, as there was in 2009, a surge of people who overwhelm the meeting spaces or force them to move to other locations. There are some Democrats who are bringing cameras to tape their members as they jostle on the hot seats. But there’s no critical mass yet.”

NATO expanded their bombing of Tripoli yesterday, hitting more Gadhafi residences and a TV facility. But they were again impotent at stopping government forces from tightening their grip on the rebel city of Misurata. Back in the U.S., Tim Pawlenty told Hugh Hewitt he would send special forces into Libya

Righty playbook:

  • John Yoo and David Marston explain why Obama’s political association disclosure Executive Order is a direct assault on the Supreme Court’s 1958 NAACP vs Alabama decision.
  • Hot Air‘s Allahpundit notes that Obama’s new ambassador to Afghanistan is Bush’s old ambassador to Iraq.
  • Cato‘s Alan Reynolds refutes Obama’s claim that average incomes for the bottom 90% of Americans have actually declined.
  • The Corner‘s Daniel Foster looks at a Resurgent Republic poll finding that voters want spending cuts tied to any debt limit hike.
  • Power Line‘s John Honderaker copies a letter GOP Senators are sending to Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) asking him to post any budget online three days prior to committee action.

Lefty playbook:

  • Obama’s letter to House Speaker John Boehner on gas prices is the top story at The Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo.
  • Daily Kos‘ latest tracking poll shows conservatives continue to enjoy a significant enthusiasm gap for the 2012 election.
  • The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent has a copy of the official White House talking points on gas prices.
  • The Huffington Post‘s Robert Reich details Obama’s Wageless Recovery.
  • ABC News’ Rick Klein is Media Matters Wanker of the Day thanks to his fact checking of false Democrat claims about the Ryan budget.

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