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Obama agenda: Is Social Security on the table?

The Washington Post front-pages, “President Obama is pressing congressional leaders to consider a far-reaching debt-reduction plan that would force Democrats to accept major changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for Republican support for fresh tax revenue… As part of his pitch, Obama is proposing significant reductions in Medicare spending and for the first time is offering to tackle the rising cost of Social Security, according to people in both parties with knowledge of the proposal. The move marks a major shift for the White House and could present a direct challenge to Democratic lawmakers who have vowed to protect health and retirement benefits from the assault on government spending.”

The New York Times adds, “The president’s renewed efforts follow what knowledgeable officials said was an overture from Mr. Boehner, who met secretly with Mr. Obama last weekend, to consider as much as $1 trillion in unspecified new revenues as part of an overhaul of tax laws in exchange for an agreement that made substantial spending cuts, including in such social programs as Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security — programs that had been off the table.”

“Republicans showed signs of flexibility to break a budget impasse yesterday, but the White House raised the ante - pushing for more deficit reduction and taking a pugnacious tone casting the GOP as defenders of corporate tax giveaways,” AP writes.

Business groups to Congress -- get it done. “Major business groups are urging lawmakers to reach a deal as soon as possible to raise the debt ceiling, reflecting fears that the country is drawing perilously close to default. The groups are gathering signatures for a letter that tells lawmakers and President Obama that the time has come to increase the debt ceiling. The document, which was obtained by The Hill, says defaulting on the nation’s debt would throw the stock market into ‘disarray.’”

Turning to yesterday’s Twitter town hall… “So much for 140 characters or less,” the Boston Globe writes. “A president, it seems, gets to respond to a tweet on his own terms.” Obama acknowledged that Twitter’s all about brevity: “I know, Twitter, I’m supposed to be short.” But, said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: “He’s the leader of the free world. He decides how short his answers will be.”

The New York Times notes that Obama’s answers averaged 2,099 characters.

The Boston Globe reveals: “The elder Barack H. Obama, a sophomore at the University of Hawaii, had come under scrutiny by federal immigration officials who were concerned that he had more than one wife. When he was questioned by the school’s foreign student adviser, the 24-year-old Obama insisted that he had divorced his wife in his native Kenya. Although his new wife, Ann Dunham, was five months pregnant with their child - who would be called Barack Obama II - Obama declared that they intended to put their child up for adoption.”