Politics In 60 Seconds: What You Need To Know Right Now

Christine Lagarde

Good morning!  Still raining. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned as director of the International Monetary Fund.  French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde is expected to replace him.

2. The White House says it does not have a “Plan B” if Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling.  The “drop dead” date on the debt ceiling is August 2nd, or so it is said.

3. The departure of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) from the Gang of Six probably signals the demise of that vehicle to budget compromise.

4. President Obama will deliver his “major” address on the Middle East today at the US Department of State. New polling shows the Muslim world souring on President Obama.  The pressure on the president to develop a coherent strategy for the region is intense.

5. Sectarian violence in Egypt is bad and getting worse.  This report gives you a real sense of what it’s like on the ground and why the promise of March now feels like the menace of May.

6. The United States, in partnership with some of its NATO allies, is imposing sanctions on the Assad regime in Syria. These sanctions will not have much bite, at least in the near term.

7. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) said yesterday that he thought the Justice Department just might go ahead and begin a formal inquiry into allegations that Goldman Sachs misled Congress and its investors.

8. Former US Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman will campaign in New Hampshire this weekend, another indication that he will soon enter the 2012 GOP presidential nomination race.

9. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), a Tea Party favourite and a fund-raising machine, is ramping up her campaign for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.  A suddenly revived Sarah Palin stands squarely in her path.

10. New Gingrich beat a hasty retreat from remarks he made last weekend about Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to “overhaul” Medicare.  The retreat was emblematic of a rough first week for Mr. Gingrich’s campaign for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

11. The head of China’s armed forces, in a speech at the National defence University in Washington, said that the US was decades ahead of China militarily and that China was anxious to forge closer military ties with the United States.