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Obama agenda: Take this deal or shove it

"With the Senate steadily falling in line behind President Obama's deal to extend Bush-era tax cuts, the White House yesterday played hardball in the House, where Vice President Joe Biden warned Democrats last night that 'this is the deal, take it or leave it,'" The New York Post writes.

"Divided Democrats hurled more insults at each other on Wednesday as the White House warned of a possible double-dip recession if the tax deal falls apart," the New York Daily News writes.

The New York Times adds, “One of President Obama’s top economic advisers warned on Wednesday that the nation could slip back into recession if Congress did not pass the administration’s tax cut deal with Republicans, as the White House sought to press Democrats into backing the plan.”

The Boston Globe: "Democrats rip Obama, look to alter tax cut deal."

“The White House said Wednesday that Capitol Hill Democrats are partly to blame for the tax-cut deal they have criticized the president for negotiating,” The Hill writes. Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said on liberal radio host’s Bill Press’ show: "He and the White House, frankly, urged the House and Senate to hold votes on this before the election. But they didn't do that, in part because there's not unanimity in the Democratic Caucus on this."

Politico’s Jonathan Martin and Ben Smith look at some liberals’ angst and desire for a primary to President Obama. but there’s a problem, they write: “Some angry liberals may want to see President Barack Obama face a primary from his left in 2012, but they have no answer to a basic question: Who?”

The New York Times says that Obama is trying to reclaim the middle. “As Mr. Obama defends the tax accord, the nation is witnessing a pivot point in his presidency. Gone is the leader who, during a tussle with Republicans over his stimulus package in the earliest days of his administration, boldly declared that ‘elections have consequences’ and ‘I won.’ In his place is the post-shellacking, pragmatic Mr. Obama, willing to anger his party’s liberal base by joining hands with Republicans and cutting out Congressional Democrats in service of his own legislative goals — not to mention his electoral ambitions.”

In addition to the tax questions, we wrote about yesterday, there’s more from a new Bloomberg/Selzer poll out today: More than half say they are worse off than they were two year ago (35/51); Two-thirds think the country is on the wrong track (27%/66%). There’s this small glimmer for Obama: “By age group, only the young -- those under 35, a core constituency for Obama in his presidential bid -- consider themselves better off than they were two years ago,” according to the poll release. The public is also skeptical of the Federal Reserve (54% say the Fed’s move to buy $600 billion of longer-term federal debt won’t help the economy). and (For more poll data.)

Politifact gives President Obama a “false” for saying at his press conference that When Social Security started “it only affected widows and orphans,” and that when Medicare began, ‘it was a small program.” “Obama had a point that Social Security started small and expanded slowly, but he was clearly incorrect that the first groups to be covered were widows and orphans,” the site writes. “On Medicare, it's not accurate to say, as the president did, that the program started "small." It was up and running for elderly Americans within one year -- four years faster than it will take the health care exchanges created in Obama's own health care bill. On balance, we rate the item False.”

“Corporate chief executives who have been disappointed in the Obama administration are suddenly singing a different tune,” The Hill writes. “Ivan Seidenberg, the Verizon CEO who just months ago criticized President Obama’s policies as a threat to business, on Wednesday said Obama ‘has shown a willingness to learn.’”

Womp, womp: “A provision in President Obama’s tax proposal to reinstate the estate tax next year is dividing some conservative groups, throwing another wrinkle into the contentious debate,” The Hill reports. “The proposal has enraged Democrats, who believe the estate tax should be significantly higher than Obama agreed to, but a parallel debate has erupted among conservatives, who have long pushed for the estate tax -- which they refer to as the ‘death tax’ -- to be abolished completely.”