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First Thoughts: Man with the plan

Obama to unveil jobs/deficit-reduction plan after Labor Day… It represents another September reset for the White House… Obama bus tour comes to an end with town hall in Atkinson, IL at 12:45 pm ET and Alpha, IL at 4:30 pm ET… It’s pretty transparent whom Obama wants to run against next year (answer: Perry)… Perry doesn’t back down on his Bernanke remarks, but he doesn’t double down, either… Perry, Romney, and Paul are all in NH… And Dems hold their two seats in WI.

 *** Man with the plan: After weeks of criticism by Republicans and some Democrats for not unveiling a specific deficit-reduction plan, as well as initiatives to boost the economy, President Obama is set to deliver a major speech after Labor Day introducing both. According to a senior administration official, the economic measures will be a mix of tax cuts, infrastructure ideas, and ways to help the long-term unemployed, all of which have enjoyed bipartisan support in the past. As for deficit reduction, the senior administration official tells First Read that the president will offer a detailed plan -- based upon the deal he was trying to reach with Speaker John Boehner -- that will go beyond the $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction that the “Super Committee” is mandated to find (in order to cover the cost of that economic stimulus).

*** Another September reset: The senior administration official adds that Obama will spend the fall pushing for passage of this plan. And the official gives this warning: Given the past bipartisan support of the measures that the president will propose, the only thing that could possibly stop them becoming law is politics. And if Congress refuses to act, Obama will take his case to the American people. So here we go again: another September reset for the Obama White House. In 2009, it was that health-care speech he gave to Congress (which didn’t win over the public but did rally Dems to pass bills that fall and winter). In 2010, it was a new campaign message to sell in the midterms (which didn’t work so well). The president has tried to "turn to jobs" numerous times during his presidency, and they’ve come with a ballyhooed speech or rollout. Will this time be different?

*** Bus tour comes to an end: Obama, meanwhile, wraps up his three-day bus tour across the Midwest. He holds a town hall in Atkinson, IL at 12:45 pm ET and another town hall in Alpha, IL at 4:30 pm ET. Obama returns to the White House around 10:00 pm ET.

*** It’s pretty transparent whom Obama wants to run against next year: You think the White House is seeing the influence of the Tea Party on the campaign trail -- and is loving every minute of it? You better believe it. While President Obama is happy to poke Mitt Romney (for his health-care law), he declined to take a shot at Rick Perry for criticizing Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and for bringing up Obama’s lack of military experience. In an interview with CNN, “Obama said presidential candidates have ‘got to be a little more careful’ about what they say. But as Perry had just entered the race over the weekend, Obama said, he will ‘cut (Perry) some slack’ for the moment.” Cut him some slack? Whom does Obama want to run against next year? It’s pretty transparent…

*** Perry doesn’t back down, but doesn’t double down, either: As for Perry, he didn’t back down from his “treasonous” criticism of Bernanke yesterday. “Look, I’m just passionate about the issue,” Mr. Perry said in Iowa, per the New York Times. “We stand by what we said.” But he didn’t double down, either. And that’s the difference between Donald Trump (who would double down) and someone who’s won statewide office before (several times). That said, some in the GOP establishment were quick to hammer Perry. Karl Rove -- hardly a Perry supporter -- told FOX, “You don’t accuse the chairman of the Federal Reserve of being a traitor to his country, of being guilty of treason and suggesting that we treat him pretty ugly in Texas.” And even Rick Santorum compared Perry to John Conyers. “To me, the rhetoric that Rick Perry used was sort of the rhetoric I would expect from a John Conyers, talking about President Bush and saying he should be impeached,” he told CNN.

*** Romney, for tax cuts for the rich or against them? Mitt Romney yesterday said, per the Concord Monitor, "I'm not for tax cuts for the rich. The rich can take care of themselves. I want to get America working again. And so I want to make sure that whatever we do in the tax code, we're not giving a windfall to the very wealthy." And yet, Romney also said yesterday, per the Boston Globe (and his campaign affirms this): “I do want to keep the Bush tax cuts in place.” Romney may say that he’s not for MORE tax cuts for the rich (he hasn’t said yet), but this kind of parsing runs the risk of playing into the narrative that he’s on both sides of a lot of issues.

*** On the 2012 trail: All the campaign activity is in New Hampshire: Rick Perry makes stops in Bedford and Nashua… Romney has another economic-themed event in Berlin… And Paul opens his campaign headquarters in Concord.

*** Dems hold their seats in WI: The two Wisconsin Democratic state senators -- Jim Holperin and Bob Wirch -- last night won the recall challenges against them. The final tally: Two state senators (both Republicans) were recalled, while seven others (four Republicans, three Democrats) held on to their seats. Although Republicans didn’t lose their majority, the recall races suggest that it was worse to back Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-collective-bargaining legislation than to flee the state like the Democrats did. “The six-month saga that was Wisconsin's state Senate recall movement ended Tuesday with Democrats retaining two seats - and Republicans still in possession of a week-old, razor-thin 17-16 majority,” the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel writes. “Bottom line: Republicans will continue to control the agenda in the Capitol, but it will be difficult for Gov. Scott Walker and other GOP leaders to get everything they want.” Are Wisconsin voters up for more recalls? Walker would like to know the answer…

*** Wednesday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up (live from Davenport, Iowa!): White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on President Obama’s road trip… New RGA Chairman Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA)… PolitiFact’s Bill Adair… latest 2012 news with N.Y. Times’ Helene Cooper, Tribune’s Matea Gold and Club for Growth President Chris Chocola.

*** Wednesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interview Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D) and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.

Countdown to NBC-Politico debate at Reagan Library: 21 days
Countdown to NV-2 and NY-9 special elections: 27 days
Countdown to Election Day 2011: 83 days
Countdown to the Iowa caucuses: 173 days
* Note: When the IA caucuses take place depends on whether other states move up

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