Toothless or not, Michael Bennet will ride or die with Obama's "pay-as-you-go" plan

Get used to the words flashing on your TV screen and bouncing from your radio speakers: "Pay as you go." And we're not talking cell phones or Craigslist escorts (they do that, don't they?)

President Obama's proposed "pay-as-you-go" plan -- wherein every expenditure (except for lots of them) must be offset by a cut (as long as you don't cut something really important) -- may be toothless, or it may restore fiscal responsibility to Washington. Like everything in that city (save for the Nationals' chances), it all depends on who you ask.

But what seems pretty clear is that with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Obama's jock) as a lead sponsor on the bill -- which has passed the House and is headed to the Senate -- we're going to be hearing a lot about it in the coming year.

Just this morning, Bennet was pimping his involvement on his Twitter feed . And as the Post's Michael Riley points out this morning, regardless of the bill's success, its simple principle -- don't spend without saving elsewhere -- will make it prime campaign material next year:

Regardless of whether it passes, his role in shepherding the bill will probably be a major theme in next year's campaign, when Bennet will come before voters for the first time after being appointed to the vacant Senate seat by Gov. Bill Ritter.

Bennet did vote in favor of the stimulus package -- the biggest single government expenditure in history -- but his staff argues that he was part of a group of moderate Democrats who helped shave nearly $100 billion from the package.

So: Expect lots of ads touting Bennet's role as a sponsorship, followed by lots of ads calling the plan a stunt, followed by lots of ads calling Bennet's opponent mean names, followed by an election during which everyone votes for the guy who promises to reduce crime and looks really nice in a suit.

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Joe Tone
Contact: Joe Tone