Morning Examiner: Boehner’s gambit 

Boehner: Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) took a hard line on debt limit negotiations with the White House last night, telling the Economic Club of New York, “It’s true that allowing America to default would be irresponsible. But it would be more irresponsible to raise the debt ceiling without simultaneously taking dramatic steps to reduce spending and reform the budget process.” “We’re not talking about billions here. We should be talking about cuts in trillions if we’re serious about addressing America’s fiscal problems,” Boehner said, before demanding $2 trillion in cuts in exchange for a $2 trillion increase in the debt limit.

Even though Boehner did not specify a time frame for those cuts, and his aides left the question open after the speech, last night was an ambitious step for the Speaker. Already, according to Gallup, support for a third party is at an all time high among Republicans. Boehner will have to walk a fine line between strong public negotiations with the White House, and over-promising results to the Tea Party rank and file. Boehner cannot afford to under-perform on a scale like he did during the CR debate.

Meanwhile, Senate Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad says he is open to smaller, multiple, short-term debt limit hikes, but only to give time for a long-term budget deal that includes tax hikes.

Daniels: Intrade now pegs the chance that Mitch Daniels will run for president at 70%, up from 40% just a week ago. The rally comes after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told Philadelphia area talk radio host Chris Stigall that Daniels was “certainly somebody who I have enormous respect for and would give real consideration to supporting.”

Daniels will need the support of popular figures like Christie since the likes of Rush Limbaugh are highly skeptical of the “boring and moderate” Daniels. Hot Air‘s Allahpundit writes: “He already has a bunch of strikes against him: The truce talk on social issues, the taint of “elite” support, a rhetorical style that eschews partisan red meat, and an awful lot of liberal verbiage in the media about how superior he is to tea partiers, which naturally makes grassroots righties suspicious.”

Huntsman: Former-Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman’s team chose an odd target for their first attack of the GOP primary: RedState’s Erick Erickson. Erickson first explained why he would never support Huntsman in a GOP primary: “The reason I will never, ever support Jon Huntman is simple: While serving as the United States Ambassador to China, our greatest strategic adversary, Jon Huntsman began plotting to run against the President of the United States. This calls into question his loyalty not just to the President of the United States, but also his loyalty to his country over his own naked ambition.”

Instead of cutting their losses and focusing on targets they have a chance of winning over, Team Huntsman ran to Politico‘s Ben Smith to recycle some Media Matters talking points against Erickson. Erickson shot back: “What does it say that Huntsman’s team would go after a Republican by going first to Media Matters.” It is still very unclear where exactly Team Huntsman expects their votes to come from in a Republican primary.

Callista and Newt Gingrich: Newt Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler tweeted yesterday that Gingrich will first declare his candidacy on Facebook and Twitter later this week before appearing on Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday night. Gingrich will then appear on Meet the Press this Sunday.

And The New York Times accurately reports: “Barely a sentence goes by without Mr. Gingrich uttering the words ‘Callista and I.’ They are constantly together — at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, at conservative political conferences, at book signings and screenings of their documentary films. She is the voice on his audio books; her face is all over his 2012 Web site, where visitors can read “‘A Note from Newt and Callista.’”

Righty playbook:

  • RedState‘s Dan McLaughlin looks at the Food Stamp Recovery.
  • The Weekly Standard‘s Mark Hemingway asks: When will the GOP go on offense over Obama’s Medicare plan?
  • The Foundry‘s Nick Loris highlights South Carolina’s plan to bring back the incandescent light bulb.
  • Cato‘s Daniel Ikenson educates E.J. Dionne on the true costs of the G.M. bailout.
  • At The Corner, Grover Norquist endorses “pay-as-you-go” debt limit increases.

Lefty playbook:

  • The Huffington Post reports that NATO is going after Gadhafi.
  • ThinkProgress links to a CNN poll showing that 9 In 10 Americans blame Wall Street and Big Oil for spiking gas prices.
  • Talking Points Memo says Boehner is “playing chicken” with the debt limit vote.
  • The Daily Kos/PPP poll shows Democrat Kathy Hochul leading Republican Jane Corwin and Tea Party candidate Jack Davis 35/31/24.
  • The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent looks at Obama’s latest push for amnesty.

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