Morning Must Reads: Making Their Case

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White House

Official White House photo by Pete Souza

Mega-scoop from Ben Smith: Andy Stern reportedly plans to step down as president of the Service Employees International Union. Stern is a titan of the labor movement and the American left, not to mention an intimate ally to the White House. Marc Ambinder gives some nice context.

–Stern is expected to address the reports Friday at the close of SEIU’s executive committee meeting in D.C.

Two possible replacements: Change to Win’s Anna Burger and SEIU’s executive VP Tom Woodruff.

–Just a reminder: Stern was tapped for Obama’s deficit commission.

–Speaking of which, the deficit is reportedly running below last year’s figures. The White House, excited that record red ink may have peaked, leaked the news to the Washington Post. Official reports aren’t due out until late summer.

Stan Collender takes the leak as a sign that the White House has no appetite for more stimulus, instead preferring to talk about deficit reduction.

Bob Herbert writes Speaker Pelosi is interested in more stimulus, specifically piecemeal job-creation measures.

–Timothy Geithner makes his case for financial reform in today’s Washington Post. A few takeaways: He touts TARP costing less than expected, an issue that plays into the new deficit calculus and something I expect the White House to talk about quite a bit. They want to frame themselves as efficient stewards of the program, and note that the new “bailout tax” on banks in financial reg would pay back the taxpayers in full. The fight for the heart of the bill is quickly moving from the easy-to-understand Consumer Finance Protection Agency to the more important capital and liquidity requirements, and derivative transparency. As I’ve noted before, I think Geithner is becoming more effective as the White House point-man on financial reform.

–Publicly, Chinese and American officials are saying Monday’s meeting between Presidents Hu and Obama yielded little on currency and great progress on Iran.

–Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin explains why it’s actually the opposite. China wants to frame adjusting the yuan as a domestic issue, not a cave to international pressure, and the U.S. is actually fairly confident they’re approaching such a move. Despite all the headlines blaring “They’re prepared to work with us” on Iran, talk isn’t new. China had already agreed to negotiate on U.N. sanctions, and no concrete promises were secured yesterday.

–The summit continues today.

–Andrew Cuomo is a juggernaut in New York’s governor’s race. The latest Quinnipiac poll puts his current job approval rating at 74 percent, and has him leading three possible Republican challengers by at least 29 points.

–He works the refs hard.

Jake Tapper narrows down Obama’s SCOTUS list to eight.

–Jason Horowitz profiles Robert Gibbs, specifically his place in the Obama braintrust and the possibility that Gibbs may replace Axelrod as senior adviser if the latter were to depart. One interesting side note: Some view the White House communications new media operation as a workaround of the traditional channels, and Horowitz describes their “social-networking suite” as “mix[ing] innovation and evasion.”

–Dems recruit state Rep. Joel Sheltrown to run for Stupak’s seat.

–The fascinating story of how Colorado went blue.

What did I miss?