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

Maureen DowdMaureen Dowd

Good morning. Here’s what you need to know:1. The Obama political team hoped that the president’s re-election narrative would reprise President Reagan’s 1984 “Morning in America” campaign. Those hopes have been dashed by a faltering economy and wars in four Muslim nations (including Yemen). Josh Kraushaar reports that President Obama’s re-election campaign is re-tooling, necessarily, and very nervous.

2. The Washington Post reports: “Leading congressional Democrats immediately recoiled Tuesday from a new proposal to cut $600 billion in Medicare spending over the next decade — in part by raising the eligibility age….(T)he swift rejection of the proposal among Democrats reflects the significant obstacles that remain to any agreement to cut the deficit and raise the nation’s legal borrowing limit.”

3. President Obama will hold a press conference today at 11:30 Eastern Time.

4. The Wall Street Journal reports: “A group of former warlords who helped the U.S. topple the Taliban regime in 2001 have launched a political alliance against Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s rule, in a re-emergence of old civil-war divisions as the country looks ahead to the departure of U.S. forces.”

5. A political settlement of some kind with the Taliban in Afghanistan is probably a pre-condition for a successful exit of US and NATO troops from that country.  Talks with the Taliban are ongoing, according to an excellent report by Ahmed Rashid.

6. For the second straight night, protesters took to the streets in Cairo and battled police. The clashes in Cairo signal growing tension between Egyptians seeking reform and the military leadership that took control after Mubarak’s ouster.

7. The Greek Parliament is expected to approve the austerity measures necessary for continued financial support from the European Union and the IMF.  Markets rallied on the expected news.

8. GOP presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty yesterday outlined his “vision” for US foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City.  The speech was not well-received.

9. Sarah Palin campaigned in Iowa yesterday, attending the screening of a film about her rise in Alaskan and American politics. She said she was “still contemplating” whether to run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

10. A new poll in New Hampshire shows Mitt Romney comfortably ahead of his leading rivals for the GOP presidential nomination.  Michele Bachmann now runs second.

11. George Will celebrates the Supreme Court’s decision on political speech, calling its 5-4 vote striking down the Arizona “matching funds” law a blow for liberty.

12. Maureen Dowd warmly profiles New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in a longer-the-usual column today. She applauds his leadership on the issue of gay marriage.

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