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Obama agenda: 'Ultimately, it may be that the differences are just too wide'

It was black smoke and no popeAP’s lead out of Obama’s ABC interview: “President Barack Obama is conceding ‘we're probably not going to be able to get a deal’ on budget, tax and spending issues with Congress if Republicans continue to insist that no new revenues can be raised unless entitlement programs are significantly overhauled.”

USA Today: “President Obama says he's reaching out to Republicans, but isn't sure it will lead to a major budget deal.” Said Obama: "Ultimately, it may be that the differences are just too wide.”

Conservatives are focused on this: “My goal is not to chase a balanced budget just for the sake of balance,” he said to ABC News. “My goal is how do we grow the economy, put people back to work, and if we do that we are going to be bringing in more revenue.”

Said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel to NBC’s Luke Russert: "The president's dismissive attitude toward balancing the budget – a goal the American people overwhelmingly support – is astonishing. A balanced budget means a healthier economy, more jobs, and brighter future. It's a means to an end, and that end is ensuring our kids and grandkids have the same opportunities we did - the same shot at living the American dream."

(But if a balanced budget was so important to Boehner, why didn’t the last two House GOP budgets balance the budget before 2040 or so?)

“President Barack Obama is addressing donors and Democratic activists who are raising money for a new group formed out of his re-election campaign,” AP notes. “Obama is headlining a two-day meeting of Organizing for Action, a nonprofit group created by former Obama campaign aides and White House advisers this year. The group is raising millions of dollars from donors to rally support for issues like gun control, immigration reform and climate change.”

US News’ Ken Walsh: “Democratic strategists are increasingly worried about the decline in President Obama's job approval ratings. ‘We aren't panicking but it's a source of concern,’ a senior Democrat told me. The latest example is Wednesday's Washington Post/ABC News poll, which finds that 50 percent of Americans approve of Obama's job performance, down 5 percentage points from January. The decline is especially apparent among independents. Two months ago, 54 percent of independents approved of his job performance; today only 44 percent approve. A new McClatchy-Marist poll is even worse for Obama. Only 45 percent say he is doing a good job and 48 percent don't approve of his job performance.”

Gary Langer on his poll: “The post-election party is over for Barack Obama, with the president slipping in overall approval and relinquishing his advantage over congressional Republicans in trust to handle the economy. But it looks not so much like a gain for the GOP as a sequester-inspired pox on both houses.”

Steve Thomma: “If President Barack Obama had piled up political capital with his impressive re-election, it’s largely gone. His approval rating has dropped to the lowest level in more than a year, with more voters now turning thumbs down on his performance than thumbs up, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll. The measure of how much people like him also has dropped. He’s still vastly more popular than Congress, particularly congressional Republicans. But in the biggest political clash of the year – over the federal budget and how to curb deficits – voters split 44 percent to 42 percent between preferring Congress or Obama. At least some of the president’s fall to Earth lies in the fact that voters no longer see him in the context of an election. He has to stand alone in the eyes of voters again and doesn’t benefit from the comparison with Republican rival Mitt Romney.”

White House tours could be back on. And it rejected Donald Trump’s offer to pay for them.