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Obama agenda: Waiting for Superman

Politico writes, "Republicans have hit President Barack Obama for being out of touch, disengaged and unwilling to lead on the budget negotiations — and Democrats aren’t wild about his taste for last-minute heroics either."

But: "Administration officials say that’s flat wrong and that Obama’s team has been quietly working with lawmakers for weeks. The president’s late entry into direct talks was a calculated strategy, they say, to avoid overexposing Democrats’ sole marquee star and to gain maximum leverage after House Republicans and Senate Democrats fell short of an agreement. And to the doubters, they say it works."

The Washington Post's Balz adds, "If Obama has shown anything in his two-plus years in the White House, it is a combination of substantive ambition and procedural caution. Add to that an innate distaste for ideological confrontation and his dislike for the demands of the 24/7 news cycle that often rules Washington’s political community. His advisers argue that his forward thinking, his persistence and his patience have produced desired results and allowed him to achieve notable successes. But they have come at the price of doubts about the strength of his leadership and his commitment to take on the fights that his supporters think are necessary."

President Obama said this last night, per Roll Call: “What I’ve said to the Speaker and what I’ve said to Harry Reid is because the machinery of the shutdown is necessarily starting to move, I expect an answer in the morning. And my hope is, is that I’ll be able to announce to the American people sometime relatively early in the day that a shutdown has been averted.” More: “The president postponed a trip to Indianapolis that he had scheduled for Friday, the White House announced late Thursday, but another planned trip to Williamsburg, Va., was still possible.” Yet, per The Hill, the president said: "I'm not yet prepared to express wild optimism, but we're further along today than we were yesterday," Obama said in his second late-night visit to the White House briefing room in about 24 hours.

But: “Boehner has been adamant that any agreement should be able to garner the 218 GOP votes to pass it, and he won’t cut a deal with Reid and Obama until he has vetted it with his members. The earliest he could do so is at a planned Conference meeting at noon Friday.”

Former Reagan Budget Director David Stockman tells the Daily Beast: “Bring it on! “I think the Republicans need to stand rigidly firm and shut the government down for a few days. The Obama White House is weak. If the Republicans hold the line, Obama will fold faster than a lawn chair. And the Republicans will get their $60 billion in reductions.” (Hat tip: Taegan Goddard.)

“Lawmakers overwhelmingly applauded the notion of Gen. David Petraeus heading the CIA, but some stopped shy of endorsing the current agency boss as the best candidate for Defense secretary,” The Hill writes.

Prince Charles is headed to the White House while in Washington May 3-5.