For the second time in three weeks, the blogosphere jumped into the national debate over the federal budget, the deficit and jobs. However, while the previous conversation focused mostly on President Obama’s budget proposals, last week the attention was mostly on Republican plans to cut the budget.

For the week of February 28-March 4, fully 37% of the news links on blogs were about the budget, easily making it the No. 1 subject, according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

In recent weeks, there has been a clear delineation in the old and new media news agendas. The blogosphere has not matched the mainstream media’s interest in the Mideast turmoil, which has been the dominant story there. Instead, bloggers have been more focused on hot-button domestic issues such as the budget, the Patriot Act, and the labor standoff in Wisconsin.

Last week, the debate over the budget featured a number of liberal voices objecting to the GOP plans for cuts, which contrasted with two weeks prior when conservative commentators led the conversation criticizing Obama’s $3.73 trillion budget proposal.

In the current debate, many critics of the GOP focused on an independent analysis from Moody economist Mark Zandi who predicted the Republican plan to cut $61 billion from the budget over the next seven months would result in a loss of 700,000 jobs throughout the country. If the GOP’s aim was to create jobs, these critics suggested, their budget-cutting goals would have an unintended negative effect.

A few conservatives disagreed with Zandi’s analysis, citing his involvement in the 2009 stimulus package as evidence of a tilted perspective.  

With budgetary disagreements raising the prospect of a possible government shutdown, a Washington Post column by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was also part of the budget conversation last week. Gingrich, who played a central role in the 1995 government shutdown, implored Republicans to stick to their principles and not be afraid of a shutdown since, according to his assessment, the 1995 maneuver was a success. Bloggers, for the most part, disagreed with Gingrich’s recounting of events.

Two very different stories tied for the No. 2 subject on blogs last week, each with 10% of the links.

One was the passing of Frank W. Buckles, the last remaining American World War I veteran, at the age of 110. Although the story generated modest attention in the mainstream media, bloggers expressed admiration for Buckles’ life story and his death became the impetus for many to reflect on the extinction of eyewitnesses to momentous historical events.

The other story tied for second was news that Fox News suspended the contracts of their political contributors Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum because both men were considering runs for the presidency in 2012. A number of bloggers asked why the same action had not been taken in regard to two other Fox contributors, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee.

A story about a call by House Democrats for Republican leaders to investigate a Washington law firm and three technology contractors was next, at 7%. The companies in question were shown in hacked emails to be contemplating a "disinformation campaign" against opponents of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a powerful trade association that has supported many Republican candidates in recent elections.

Also at 7% was the 8-1 Supreme Court ruling protecting the First Amendment right of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church to conduct anti-gay protests at military funerals. (The same Church was also a