**UPDATED**

From Jake Tapper:

A government official tells ABC News that the federal government is expecting and preparing for bond rating agency Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the rating of US debt from its current AAA value.

Pres. Obama makes more history, just not the kind he’d hoped. Quite an accomplishment for sure and one Republicans, but especially Mitt Romney, will run with all the way to 2012.

UPDATED 3 (8.6.11): Read Yves Smith. Here’s just one part that drives home my last line above:

That’s what Rep. Randy Neugebauer, chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee said on April 29, when he requested documents from the administration: Treasury officials “may have exerted too much pressure on S&P.” The Republicans were already laying the tracks for S&P’s defense in April.

Here are a few more dots to connect the timeline:

April 18: Mitt Romney: “The Obama presidency was downgraded today.”
April 20: Mitt Romney: “Standard & Poor’s, one of the rating agencies, just downgraded their view of the future for America”¦If you will, they downgraded the Obama presidency.”
July 15: WSJ ““ “The Obama downgrade.”

They’ve been cooking this one for a while.

[…] So even if S&P fails to land a body blow in the markets, its ploy has garnered press that seems certain to taint the Administration, and thus confirms the power of its reckless conduct. Thus the cost is not likely to show up in bond yields, but in something far more fundamental: in yet more destruction of the foundations of our society for short-term, selfish ends.

UPDATE 2: S&P proves they’re craven. From the Wall Street Journal:

Around 1:30 p.m., S&P officials notified the Treasury Department that they planned to downgrade U.S. debt and presented the government with their findings. Treasury officials noticed a $2 trillion error in S&P’s math that delayed an announcement for several hours. S&P officials decided to move ahead, and after 8 p.m. they made their downgrade official.

UPDATE: From S&P, but the nonsense coming from Republicans smells as bad as the downgrade, because they’re hardly pure in the debt ceiling debacle.

The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government’s medium-term debt dynamics.
More broadly, the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges to a degree more than we envisioned when we assigned a negative outlook to the rating on April 18, 2011.
[…] The outlook on the long-term rating is negative. We could lower the long-term rating to ‘AA’ within the next two years if we see that less reduction in spending than agreed to, higher interest rates, or new fiscal pressures during the period result in a higher general government debt trajectory than we currently assume in our base case.