With Boehner dismissing the Aug. 2 debt-ceiling deadline as “artificial,” what happened to this GOP: The business community needs certainty?... Is the debt ceiling unconstitutional?... The debt debate, Libya, and gay marriage are expected to dominated Obama’s 11:30 am ET news conference… Priorities USA Action responds to Crossroads GPS ad buy and also goes on the attack… Isikoff: Bachmann and husband benefit from federal programs and subsidies… Palin tantalizes in Iowa, but consider that Perry and Christie are doing more right now regarding a possible presidential bid than Palin is… If Florida moves up its primary, Georgia wants to move with them… And Huntsman raises money in TX, IL, and MI, while Bachmann spends her day in SC.
*** Deadline? What deadline? Yesterday, Boehner called the Aug. 2 debt-ceiling date an “artificial” deadline. "Nobody believes the United States is going to walk away from its obligations," Boehner said in an interview taped for the "Hannity" show on Fox News Channel. "Dealing with this debt problem and this deficit problem is far more important than meeting some artificial date created by the Treasury secretary." Similarly, a GOP Hill source in the know told First Read yesterday that the Aug. 2 drop-dead debt-ceiling date is not likely as hard a date as Treasury is leading on. It could be pushed to mid-August, the source said. (But a Treasury Department official says they’re not setting the deadline. “It is purely a function of the government's cash flows,” the official tells us. “We will provide an update on the debt-ceiling outlook at the beginning of July, as we have done at the beginning of each month this year, but it is unlikely that the date will move by more than a day or two -- if at all.)
*** Remember the GOP talking points on "certainty?" However, over the past year, John Boehner and Republicans have railed against the Obama administration’s policies (on health care, on the financial industry), arguing they create uncertainty for the business community. “We're calling for an end to the threat of tax hikes -- and a fundamental reform of the tax code -- to provide certainty to those in our country who create jobs," Boehner said in May. “We need to move forward on those policies that will give our small businesses the certainty to create those jobs,” he added earlier this month. “We need to stop the regulations to provide more certainty for America's job creators,” he noted two week ago. But the issue of "certainty" is not is not being brought up now by Republicans when it comes to the debt ceiling. If anything, despite calls from the Wall Street and business communities to CREATE certainty by taking this debt ceiling issue off the table sooner rather than later, the GOP is now doubling-down on creating a LACK of certainty for now as a way to gain leverage in the talks with the White House.
*** Is the debt ceiling unconstitutional? Meanwhile, Huffington Post reported last night that some Senate Democrats believe that the debt ceiling is, in fact, unconstitutional. “‘The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law... shall not be questioned,’ reads the 14th Amendment. ‘This is an issue that's been raised in some private debate between senators as to whether in fact we can default, or whether that provision of the Constitution can be held up as preventing default,’ Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), an attorney, told The Huffington Post Tuesday. ‘I don't think, as of a couple weeks ago, when this was first raised, it was seen as a pressing option. But I'll tell you that it's going to get a pretty strong second look as a way of saying, “Is there some way to save us from ourselves?”’” More from HuffPo: “By declaring the debt ceiling unconstitutional, the White House could continue to meet its financial obligations, leaving Tea Party-backed Republicans in the difficult position of arguing against the plain wording of the Constitution.” We'll dig into this constitutional argument on "The Daily Rundown."
*** Debt debate, Libya, and gay marriage expected to dominate Obama’s 11:30 am newser: The debate over the debt ceiling, of course, will dominate President Obama’s White House news conference at 11:30 am ET. And expect the president to use it to draw a line in the sand that any deal must be balanced, with both sides putting their “sacred cows” on the table. Libya will be another likely topic. And with Obama delivering remarks at a 5:45 pm ET LGBT White House event, expect there to be a question or two on gay marriage -- and why he doesn’t support it (at least not yet). The New York Times writes, “For months, Mr. Obama, who has in the past opposed same-sex marriage, has said his views are ‘evolving.’ But last week’s vote in Albany has intensified pressure on the president to say where he stands.”
*** Priorities USA Action responds (and goes on the attack): Priorities USA Action, the Democratic Super PAC led by former Obama White House spokesman Bill Burton, has responded to the GOP Crossroads GPS TV ad buy that began airing on Monday. The Priorities USA ad -- which will run in CO, FL, IA, NC, and VA -- notes that Republicans have failed to pitch in on the economy and it hits them on Medicare. “The Republicans have opposed economic reform at every turn,” the ad goes. “And now they have a plan that would essentially end Medicare for future retirees, slash education while giving big tax breaks to Big Oil and the wealthy.” The ad ends, “We can’t rebuild American if they tear down the middle class.” So in that respect, it’s really not a response ad; it’s the Dem message against Republicans.
*** Bachmann and her husband benefit from federal programs and subsidies: As NBC’s Michael Isikoff reported yesterday, the mental health clinic run by Michele Bachmann’s husband “has been collecting annual Medicaid payments totaling over $137,000 for the treatment of patients since 2005… The previously unreported payments are on top of the $24,000 in federal and state funds that Bachmann & Associates, the clinic founded by Marcus Bachmann, a clinical therapist, received in recent years under a state grant to train its employees, state records show.” More Isikoff: “Questions about the Bachmann family's receipt of government funds arose this week after a Los Angeles Times story reported that a family farm in which Michelle Bachmann is a partner had received nearly $260,000 in federal farm subsidies.” The reason why these stories are problematic for Bachmann: How can you rail against federal money and federal program (like Medicaid) and benefit from them at the same time? Then again, Republicans might argue that Obama rails against the Bush tax cuts, but takes the benefit anyway.
*** Palin tantalizes in Iowa: As expected, Sarah Palin tantalized some folks by saying yesterday in Iowa that she’s “still thinking about” a presidential run. But while the door might be slightly ajar, there’s also a chain attached to it. Think about it: Rick Perry (whose folks are scrambling to see if they can mount a national campaign) and Chris Christie (who’s appearing before national TV audiences and is headed to Iowa later this summer) are doing more right now regarding a presidential bid than Sarah Palin is. A little guidance: Begin taking a Palin candidacy seriously if she cancels that FOX contract. Until then... And, of course, a poll showing Obama leading Palin in Alaska doesn’t exactly suggest a presidential bid, either.
*** Let the primary-calendar madness begin: Here’s some primary-calendar news the RNC was afraid of: If Florida sets its primary in early March -- right after the South Carolina contest -- then Georgia wants to move with them. “If the RNC allows Florida to move to a Thursday, Friday or Saturday vote at the front end of March without penalty, there’s no reason that Georgia shouldn’t be allowed to do the same, [Georgia’s] secretary of state said.”
*** On the 2012 trail: Bachmann makes four stops in South Carolina, campaigning in Charleston, Lexington, Greenville, and Rock Hill… And Huntsman raises money in Houston, Chicago, and Grand Rapids, MI.
Countdown to Iowa GOP straw poll: 45 days
Countdown to NV-2 special election: 76 days
Countdown to Election Day 2011: 132 days
Countdown to the Iowa caucuses: 222 days
* Note: When the IA caucuses take place depends on whether other states move up