Midday Must Reads: Moving the Needle

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White House

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

–Obama heads to lower Manhattan on Thursday to push for financial regulatory reform. Expect a confrontational tone and a call for quick action in the Senate.

–Hill aides are saying a motion to proceed could come as early as this week.

Paul Krugman, Ezra Klein and Ryan Avent are still mulling what financial reform is really about.

Geithner is confident the current bill can win Republican votes.

–He’s set to meet with Senator Collins today.

David Corn writes it’s all about the message war and pessimistically notes Obama is 0 for 2 on selling his major policy initiatives to the public (stimulus and health care.)

Nate Silver thinks public support for financial reform has room to fall and that Dodd, as its messenger, isn’t helping.

–The Obama administration is pushing for the $50 billion resolution fund to be dropped from the bill. Some have speculated the move is intended to disarm GOP criticisms of a “bailout fund.” Here’s the thing: Senator Corker told me last week the fund doesn’t really matter, as it merely draws a distinction between “pre-funding” operating costs for liquidating a failed institution and “post-funding” them. Either way, the financial industry picks up the tab, and, according to Corker, the charge of “bailouts in perpetuity” stems from “loopholes” in the legislation, not the existence of the fund itself. All that being said, political thrusts and parries aren’t based on policy nuance. Removing the fund might help the Democrats’ message and, as long as the FDIC feels they have the necessary resources to unwind failed giants, it would have little impact on the shape of the bill.

–Chris Dodd sees it as a legacy issue.

–The Goldman case goes to the top.

–It might only be the first in a series.

Edward Wyatt writes the SEC is toughening up.

–A bit of pushback on the notion that the Goldman case is purely political: The investigation has been going for quite a long time.

–But make no mistake, it’s very political now. Rep. Boehner engages in some rhetorical acrobatics to pin it on the president: “These are very serious charges against a key supporter of President Obama‚Äôs bill to create a permanent Wall Street bailout fund.”

–Rep. Frank joins the chorus of Dems saying it helps current legislation’s chances.

Ben Smith reports John Paulson, a central figure in the Goldman case, hosted Mitt Romney and Michael Steele at his home last week for a RNC fundraiser.

–The Tea Party has a major libertarian wing.

–Ed Case gets a nod from the Honolulu Advertiser in Hawaii’s hotly contested three-way congressional race.

–Rick Lowry gives five reasons Charlie Crist shouldn’t go indy. I’m not sure he has his best interests in mind, but it’s a good read nonetheless.

–It looks like that first televised debate really moved the needle in Britain.

–And don’t forget to check out morning reads over at the Curious Capitalist.

What did I miss?