Politics at Lunch: What You Need To Know At Mid-Day

Here’s what’s happening on the political wire:

1. Every front-runner needs a fire-break; a state he or she will win come hell or high water.  New Hampshire is that state for the Mitt Romney campaign. The most recent poll there shows him ahead by 30 percentage points (roughly speaking) over his nearest challengers (in this case, Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain).

2. Rebecca Blank, a Clinton Administration veteran and currently the top economist at the US Commerce Department, is reportedly the front-runner to replace Austan Goolsbie as Chair(person) of the President Council of Economic Advisors. Ms. Blank is a stimulus sceptic, according to published reports.

3. Peggy Noonan writes that the Republican return to “reality” on overseas interventions is a welcome development. “…The foreign-policy discussion, though limited, was marked by a new sobriety. There was no spirit of adventurism, there were no burly promises of victories around the corner and lights at the ends of tunnels. It was more muted than that, more realistic, different in tone and tenor from four and eight years ago. This signaled a real shift, and a heartening one.”

4. President Obama’s argument that the US is not at war in Libya is preposterous, writes Stephen Walt at Foreign Policy.

5. Tim Pawlenty went on Fox News last night to attack Mitt Romney on the issue of healthcare reform.  Mr. Pawlenty passed on the opportunity to do so during Monday night’s GOP presidential candidates debate in New Hampshire. He has been trying to make up for that “mistake” ever since.

6. President Obama now trails a “generic” Republican presidential candidate in a “trial heat” match-up, according to Gallup.  Mr. Obama’s support is at 39%.  The “generic” Republican gets 45%.

7. “Reckless Endangerment,” by New York Times business columnist Gretchen Morgenson and financial analyst Joshua Rosner, has become a best-seller. New York Times columnist David Brooks today offers his views on why the book has become such a “must read.”

8. The eurozone may be heading into its Lehman weekend.  Bloomberg describes the dread, in a story headlined: “Europe’s ‘Lehman moment’ Looms As Greek Debt Unravels Markets.

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