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Morning Briefing: July 7, 2011

In a major concession to the right, President Obama is reportedly offering to put major changes to Social Security and Medicare on the table in negotiations to raise the debt ceiling. The Washington Post reports that, in talks with congressional Republicans today, Obama will press for a far-reaching deal in which Democrats accept changes to entitlement programs in exchange for Republican support for new tax revenue.

A new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that the Medicaid program vastly improves the quality of life of its recipients in America. The study finds that Medicaid recipients not only “see doctors more often but they also feel better, are less depressed and are better able to maintain financial stability.”

Making a “rare admission of a policy misstep” yesterday, President Obama “acknowledging that his administration failed to provide enough support to struggling homeowners and recognize the scope of the nation’s housing crisis.” Speaking at the White House’s Twitter town hall, Obama said his administration is “going back to the drawing board” on housing issues.

Led by the Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers, major business groups are urging lawmakers to reach a deal to raise the debt ceiling before they throw the stock market into “disarray.” From the groups’ letter to President Obama and Congress: “A default would risk both disarray in those markets and a host of unintended consequences. … This is a risk our country must not take.”

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The Family Leader’s Bob Vander Plaats will unveil a new GOP candidate pledge this morning in Iowa called “The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family.” The 14-point pledge includes a mandate to support the Defense of Marriage Act and a vow to appoint strict constructionists to the court. Reports suggest that the British phone hacking scandal dogging News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch “could be leading to the arrests” of five of his journalists and executives for hacking personal details about families of troops who died in combat. Murdoch stated that his company is working to verify the reports, and if true, he would be “absolutely appalled and horrified.”

Vin Weber, a top adviser to presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty, has apologized for his comment about Michele Bachmann’s “sex appeal.” Weber was quoted yesterday as saying Bachmann would be tough to beat in the Iowa caucuses, in part because of her sex appeal.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D), facing strong opposition from conservative legislators to raising income tax rates on the rich, is now offering to endorse a $1-per-pack tax increase on cigarettes instead. Dayton pointed to former Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s (R) support for such a plan.

And finally: While Rob Lowe’s son is interning for the majority leader, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” creator Larry David would not be caught dead playing golf with Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA). Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe today just moments after Cantor, David said he wouldn’t play golf with the congressman under any circumstances, saying, “I don’t care for him. The hair is part of it.”

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