Morning Examiner: The first step is admitting you have a problem 

Romney: He’s still in denial. There is just no other possible way to read Mitt Romney’s op-ed on health care in the USA Today this morning. As The Wall Street Journal’s devastating editorial today details, titled Obama’s Running Mate, the problem with Romneycare is not just that it looks like Obamacare, the problem is that it isn’t working.

Yes, the number of uninsured are down to just 2%, but no conservative’s critique of Obamacare is that it doesn’t cover enough people. The conservative case against Obamacare is that it won’t control costs and won’t provide quality care because it relies upon centralized government instead of the free market. And this is exactly what is happening in Massachusetts. Nowhere does Romney tackle the specific failures of Romneycare in his op-ed.

Until he is ready to: 1) admit Romneycare is bad public policy; and 2) explain why;  no Republican primary voter will ever listen to what his plan for health care is now. Romney’s candidacy is not dead, but it won’t really started till he fully disowns Romneycare.

Gingrich: Why is the media paying attention to Newt Gingrich exactly? Newt told Sean Hannity last night that he would feel like a “fraud” if he didn’t run president after a lifetime of preaching the importance of citizenship. He also promised that on his first day in office he would issue a fleet of executive orders gutting the entire Obama agenda.

But as every news outlet has noted, Newt carries significant personal and policy baggage. The PJ Tattler sums it up succinctly by posting “Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign in two videos.” The first, being his announcement video from yesterday. The second, the cap and trade ad he cut with former-Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He adds: “Though he was once a true big idea man, Gingrich’s plausibility as a candidate for the presidency has waned considerably in my opinion.”

And about those ideas. Newt promised Hannity last night that he would offer a new contract for America around Labor Day … of next year! Will he even still be in the race by that time?!?!

Daniels: Slate‘s David Weigel investigates the Republican field on cap and trade and finds the Mitch Daniels is the only candidate who never supported it.

Dems in disarray: McClatchy reports:

Democrats in Congress are torn over how to craft a federal budget, a dispute that could make it difficult for Washington’s high-level deficit reduction talks to get much done anytime soon.

Liberals want a bold blueprint that spares social programs from big spending cuts and provides a sharp counterpoint to the GOP’s proposal, which includes a dramatic revamping of Medicare and Medicaid.

But others in the party see significant spending cuts as necessary to get a deal with Republicans, who control the House and have enough votes to block any Senate Democratic plan.

Democrats also disagree on taxes. One group wants to impose more taxes on the wealthy and big corporations — particularly oil companies _while others are skittish about being tagged as tax-raisers. Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., for example, wants no tax increases as long as the economy remains sluggish.

Democrat incoherence starts at the top where President Obama is explicitly advising Senate Democrats not to take firm positions on anything. Except, of course, on the things he doesn’t like, like the CAP Act. Obama is fine with a firm line in the sand on that.

Righty playbook:

  • The Examiner‘s Phil Klein interviews Georgetown Law’s Randy Barnett about the Obama administration’s shifting explanations for Obamacare in court.
  • RedState‘s Moe Lane posts video of NY-26 “Tea Party” candidate Jack Davis hitting a camera man.
  • Cato‘s Michael Cannon details why the cost shifting arguments the Obama administration made to defend in Obamacare in yesterday are bunk.
  • At The Corner, Mercatus Center’s Veronica de Rugy explains the weaknesses of economic modeling.
  • RedState‘s Leon Wolf notes that Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., was the only Republican to vote for James Cole as Deputy Attorney General.

Lefty playbook:

  • The top story on The Huffington Post celebrates rebel gains in Libya.
  • Talking Points Memo reviews Mike Huckabee’s new video,
  • Firedoglake‘s Jon Walker contends that the Ryan Budget would cause millions to lose Medicaid coverage.
  • ThinkProgress highlights new Galup polling showing 59% of Americans want the U.S. out of Afghanistan.
  • Daily Kos‘ Jed Lewison posts video of Mitt Romney hoping for “a nation that’s taken a mandate approach.”

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