Via Mediaite. In case you’re keeping score, here’s where the Democratic brain trust is on tax cuts. The White House wants them extended for those making less than $250,000 per year; Nancy Pelosi wants them extended for those making less than $1 million per year (yes, even Pelosi is more concerned about small businesses than O is); and now O’s Democratic predecessor is calling for a new temporary across-the-board extension to maximize the country’s chances at growth.

No wonder Team Romney has a Clinton fan page up on their site. Good lord:

“They will probably have to put everything off until early next year,” he added. “That’s probably the best thing to do right now. But the Republicans don’t want to do that unless he agrees to extend the tax cuts permanently, including for upper income people, and I don’t think the president should do that.”

However, Clinton did say that Congress would be best off agreeing, at least for the time being, to extend all the tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of the year, including the so-called Bush tax cuts named after Clinton’s successor, George W. Bush…

“They’re still pretty low, the government spending levels. But I think they look high because there’s a recession,” he said. “So the taxes look lower than they really would be if we had two and half or 3 percent growth and spending is higher than it would be if we had two and a half or 3 percent growth, because there are so many people getting food stamps, so many people getting unemployment, so many people on Medicaid.”

“There’s a recession” is a soundbite that’s going to make many a Romney ad-man very, very happy. Even so, I agree with National Journal that, in his own way, Clinton’s actually helping Obama out by backing a full extension of the cuts. If The One’s lucky enough to win in the fall, he’s almost certainly going to have to bite the bullet next year and agree to another extension, not only as a condition of compromise with the GOP but in order to keep as much capital available to the economy for a recovery as possible. Clinton’s making that easier for him by lending his imprimatur to the compromise. NJ:

[I]f the last three months of tepid job growth are not an aberration, but a sign the economy is heading toward contraction, then extending the tax cuts may be the only strategy that the two parties can agree on as a means of economic stimulus.

If so, then Clinton was doing what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi did recently when she redefined those who qualify for “middle class” tax cuts as Americans making up to $999,999 a year.

Both Clinton and Pelosi are signaling to the voters that the Democrats, at least, are not going to hold American families hostage to party shibboleths.

Clinton and Pelosi are also sending signals to their party’s liberal base. Grand bargains require compromise. Obama will find it easier to sell a deal if the party’s other leaders have plowed the ground for him.

Yep. Now all we need is an explanation for the rhetorical groin-punch of calling this a “recession” and we’ll be all set. Exit question: Was this soundbite from last night’s fundraiser an intentional dig at Obama or not? Nothing’s innocent when it comes to Clinton, I guess.