From Paul Kane, Amy Goldstein and Peter Wallsten at Washington Post Politics: “Even as some Republican strategists acknowledged that Medicare had played a role in the New York defeat, they said they intend to double down on their sales pitch. Grover Norquist, president of the conservative Americans for Tax Reform, said his group plans to distribute to 150,000 activists nationwide five-minute videos of Ryan describing his proposal. Norquist said he is also exploring a campaign training seminar to teach grass-roots operatives how to better defend what he calls the doctrine of the modern-day GOP. ‘The best defense is clarity,’ Norquist said. ‘The challenge will be to teach each of our activists to deliver Ryan’s speech.’”

Jennifer Rubin writes in Washington Post Opinions: “The worst approach to bipartisan debt reduction efforts: holler at Republicans for refusing to raise taxes. Alan Simpson becomes unhinged asking in reference to Grover Norquist, ‘What kind of a nut is this guy?’ Actually, Norquist sounds pretty sane: ‘I suppose that the former senator can have fun calling me names if he wants, but his argument is with the Republican caucus in the House and the Senate and with the majority of the American people, who see this as a spending problem. And the only way to solve the spending problem is to spend less.’”

POLITICO Playbook’s FIRST LOOK — Business Week: “‘The Enforcer: For decades, Grover Norquist has locked in lawmakers to oppose new taxes. The deficit debate is his greatest triumph – and biggest test,’ by Drake Bennett: ‘For decades he’s worked Congress and cable news studios to promote his single issue, promoting those who sign his pledge and punishing those who even consider breaking it.’ ‘He’s a little bit like the old Roman emperor, turning the thumbs up and thumbs down,’ says Bruce Bartlett… ‘A single unelected actor with a single issue, he holds immense power over the Republican Party’s fiscal platform, and, through it, the national policy debate.’ ‘I don’t know of anyone outside of government who has had this kind of influence on politics before,’ writes Columbia University historian Alan Brinkley.’”

Erik Wasson from The Hill: “Over the last several months, the so-called Gang of Six senators attempted to put the commission plan into legislation, but that effort imploded last week. ‘I understand the Democrats are desperate to try to get the Republicans to violate their pledge so that they can get to the important business of raising taxes rather than cutting spending,’ [Norquist] said.”