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February 12, 2013 9:32 PM SOTU Live-Blog II

By Ed Kilgore

* Obama still on bipartisan rap with progress report on deficit reduction: now pivoting to the sequester.

* Sequester would “slow the recovery,” a pretty mild description of economic impact.

* “Some in Congress” only wanting to protect Pentagon from cuts (wonder who that could be?); but that would be worse than sequester.

* Sorta endorses “entitlement reform” (though attributes problem to health care costs), then launches into the “balanced approach” pitch.

* Whoa! Endorses level of Medicare cuts in Simpson-Bowles—but not necessarily methods. Does endorse more means-testing of Medicare, and then expresses openness to “reforms from both parties” so long as they don’t “jeopardize retirement security.” Nice inversion of big GOP line: “Shouldn’t make promises we can’t keep, but can’t break promises we’ve already made.”

* After “closing loopholes/tax simplification” intro, Boehner claps but doesn’t stand. He, of course, has said “We’re done with revenues.”

* Very interesting combo of 100% bipartisanship rhetoric with positions Republicans have already rejected. Interesting Boehner didn’t clap at either attack on “manufactured crises” or at demand that “the people’s government” stay open.

* “Deficit reduction alone is not an economic policy.” Can’t be said often enough.

* Reminded everyone he did in fact propose American Jobs Act.

* Ah, here’s the line GOPers are already screaming about: “Nothing I propose tonight will add a dime to the deficit.”

* Ohio’s shout-out didn’t end on Election Night, it seems.

Since Obama’s into the slow slog of economic policy morsels, I’ll shift to another thread.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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