MUST READS: Today's Top Five Political Stories

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Whippersnapper Republicans Vote No On Budget Deal (And That's the Thanks John Boehner Gets)

The House on Thursday signed off on record spending cuts for 2011, approving last week's eleventh-hour budget agreement. But what ought to have been a triumph for Speaker John Boehner, who landed a pretty good deal for Republicans, turned sour as 59 of his compadres, mostly government-loathing freshmen who wanted much more draconian cuts, voted no. “I think my leadership needs to probably sit down and have a come-to-Jesus with themselves,” said Rep. Allen B. West, a freshman Republican from Florida, who called the $38 billion in cuts "raindrop in an ocean."

Read the full story: Unruly G.O.P. Puts Boehner to a Test in Budget Vote, New York Times

Obama's Hot-Mic Moment: Republicans Tried to Sneak Agenda into the Budget Deal

President Obama gave his unvarnished take on the recent budget negotiations Thursday evening during what he thought was a private chat with campaign donors. A CBS Radio correspondent, alone in the press room, listened in amazement as a live mic captured Obama accusing the Republicans of trying to "sneak" their agenda into the budget.  A sample: "I said, 'You want to repeal health care? Go at it. We'll have that debate. You're not going to be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget. You think we're stupid?'"

Read the full story: Obama: GOP tried to "sneak" agenda into budget, CBS News

Republicans Go At It Over Taxes

Republicans are clashing over whether to drop the party's unyielding opposition to raising taxes as part of a long-term budget deal with Democrats. On one side, you have people like Grover Norquist, the relentlessly single-issue anti-tax advocate, and on the other, Republicans amenable to deal-making in the interest of reducing the deficit, like Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. “If we don’t do something, what we’ve done is put the country at risk,” says Coburn. As for Norquist, he wonders: "Why would you elect a Republican Senate if they just sat down with Obama and raised everyone’s taxes?"

Read the full story: No-tax-hike pledge creates Republican rift, potential roadblock to deficit deal, Washington Post

Obama, Cameron, and Sarkozy Say Qaddafi's Gotta Go

The leaders of the U.S., France and the U.K., in an opinion column, call on NATO to continue its air campaign until the Libyan leader is booted from power. Since NATO's mandate excludes actually going into Libya and taking out Qaddafi, this means... what? Says one top US official: "The best way to read this is a message to Gadhafi that while the military mission is limited, we're not going to take the pressure off him under any circumstance."

Read the full story: U.S., Allies Raise Ante on Ouster of Gadhafi, Wall Street Journal

Arizona Passes First 'Birther' Bill

The Arizona legislature passed a Republican bill requiring presidential candidates to submit birth certificates in order to get on the state's election ballot, a measure its backers insist is not -- at all -- aimed at President Obama. Noted extremist Governor Jan Brewer can opt whether to sign the bill into law. "Arizona is the first state to pass a birther bill," a Democratic state senator told the Arizona Republic newspaper. "We look pretty much backward."

Read the full story: Arizona passes birth certificate legislation

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