Every day we ask influential politicos to send us their top three bullet points that are driving the day’s conversation inside and outside Washington.

Good day and it’s a consequential one here in Washington. President Obama again summons the congressional leaders to the White House, with the goal of averting a government shutdown. The president doesn’t want one, and Speaker Boehner doesn’t want one. So logic says there shouldn’t be one. But logic doesn’t always apply at the day care center, and sadly DC often appears to be one of late. As Erick notes below, there are real principles at stake — big questions about the size and role and reach of government. Those questions will be in sharper focus – and both the financial and policy stakes will be a lot higher – when the debate shifts to next year’s budget. Amid all the finger pointing in the current short-term fight, remember: we wouldn’t be here if Congress did its job and passed a budget last year. But Democrats (remember they controlled both the House and the Senate then) didn’t pass a budget, in part because they didn’t want to take risky votes in an election year. They are paying for that timidity now, as the new Republican majority demands more cuts and policy changes on issues like abortion and environmental regulation. Important developments in Libya and Japan today, too. Enjoy your day. – John King

RedState.Com Editor Erick-Woods Erickson:

- Remember back in January, the Democrats were telling us we needed a new tone. The hostile tone somehow caused Jared Loughner, a apolitical nut job, to assassinate a federal judge and attempt to assassinate Congresswoman Giffords. Now these same Democrats are proclaiming the death and starvation of the old and young because of Republican budget cuts.

- The media is doing a wonderful job of finding every kid who will be deprived of seeing Mount Rushmore because of a government shutdown and has resorted to the typical “they’re behaving like kids” rhetoric. But beyond the simplistic narrative, there are, in fact, real principles at stake.

- Donald Trump at number two for the GOP? It has more to do with just how unexciting the others are.

Mario Solis-March: Senior Editor of MarioWire.com Mario Solis-Marich:

- New Play: The Wisconsin State Supreme Court race is potentially a game changer, is Obama watching the news?

- Return Engagement: Olympic champion Henry Cejudo is back in the wrestling ring and is dedicating his next Gold Medal to the fight for comprehensive immigration reform, let’s see if anybody dares call him an “Anchor Baby”.

- Stage Manager: Leader Harry Reid goes toe-to-toe with the GOP and is keeping the White House on track while refusing to gut social security making him the most powerful behind the scenes player in D.C.

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