(CNN)-It's early, and State of the Union is bringing you the best of the morning headlines to go with your cup of coffee.
On our radar this morning: The aftermath of the budget deal and the violence in Libya and Yemen.
Check out what we're reading and catch our interviews with White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Donald Trump today at 9am/12pm ET.
Americans may ask which is the real Obama, the politician who embraced the biggest stimulus package in the nation’s history, a bailout of the banks and a takeover of the automobile industry, or the one who on Friday hailed the new budget deal as including “the largest annual spending cut in our history.”
A labor Democrat said Saturday that he thinks the president has some latitude with the progressive wing of the party, given the policies of the opposition. “There will be some unease and restlessness, but I’m not hearing a lot of people saying they’re ready to abandon ship,” said this Democrat, who requested anonymity to speak candidly. “In general, there’s kind of a resignation of this is the guy and . . . priority number one is getting him reelected in 2012.”
Christina Romer, former head of his Council of Economic Advisors, said she had been "pushing a little from the sidelines" for the president to get more involved.
"If he were out there talking about the long-term deficit problem and how it needs to be solved, he could convince the American people," said Romer, who has returned to her post as an economics professor at UC Berkeley. "I'd like to see him out there more."
“It’s worth noting that this follows just a few months after another big concession, in which he gave in to Republican demands for tax cuts,” Krugman said in his New York Times column on Saturday. “The net effect of these two sets of concessions is, of course, a substantial increase in the deficit.”
“He’s frustrating,” said Tim Carpenter, national director of Progressive Democrats of America. "He’s somebody who came out of our movement. He’s certainly well read about progressive ideas. But he talks a good game. He compromises way too early. He surrenders in the third quarter of many of these fights.”
“The White House seems sure that this path is suicidal for Republicans,” said Mr. Levin, “but they are mistaken — and they will need to wake up very soon to the need to offer the country their own liberal alternative to our failing liberal welfare state.”
But it is still unclear whether his soaring rhetoric and somewhat humbler stance will succeed in advancing U.S. objectives, be they the spread of democracy or containing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. What is clear is that the president, because of circumstances and his own temperament, is acting less as the so-called most powerful man in the world and more as the planet’s master of ceremonies — nudging, exhorting and charming, but less comfortable flexing U.S. muscles than many of his predecessors.
The budget deal reached Friday would affect two initiatives contained in last year's health-care law that were bitterly opposed by businesses, killing one outright and slashing funding for the other.
The agreement would eliminate a provision of the health-care law enabling low-income workers to opt out of employer-offered health insurance and shop for more affordable coverage on insurance exchanges to be created in 2014, according to congressional aides and business groups.
The budget bill will also cut $2.2 billion in funding from a program that would encourage the development of health-care cooperatives—not-for-profit entities that would compete with private, for-profit health-insurance companies.
A senior Republican congressional aide said the health-law changes were put forward by Democrats in the budget negotiations, though Republicans have been seeking opportunities to chip away at the law.
“The fact that we got up to the eleventh hour [in the budget debate] caused disruption and anxiety in a lot of people’s lives, but the difference of going down this same path with the debt ceiling, you don’t need to get to the eleventh hour before the markets start reacting,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said.
In cold and unflinching language, dozens of previously secret U.S. diplomatic cables betray a level of international concern about the terrorist threat emanating from Yemen that is deeper and broader than has been publicly revealed.
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