Good morning! Here’s what you need to know:
- Heads of state descend on New York today for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. President Barack Obama — and the basically the entire Washington diplomatic corps — is in town for high-level meetings as the administration tries to navigate several foreign policy crises (European collapse, Arab Spring fallout, Afghanistan/Pakistan, etc…) while sticking to its domestic jobs message. All of this could be derailed, however, by the Palestinian bid for statehood, expected to be submitted to the UN Friday.
- The President and First Lady are making the most of their New York trip, with a series of DNC fundraisers. Obama headlined a small dinner with key Democratic bundlers last night, and the First Lady is hosting a luncheon with DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Gloria Steinem, and the leaders of major women’s groups. The Obamas will host a gala event tonight with a special performance by Alicia Keyes.
- 2012 presidential hopeful Rick Perry is hosting a pro-Israel rally with Israeli politicians and American Jewish leaders in New York this morning, pegged around Obama’s visit to the UN and the expected Palestinian bid for statehood. Perry, a vocal critic of the Obama administration’s policies toward Israel, has previously said the U.S. should exercise its veto to reject the Palestinian ‘s application. The Texas Republican is looking to win over support from New York’s conservative Jewish community, and will meet with several Orthodox Jewish activists at a fundraising luncheon today.
- Former President George W. Bush is also in town today to deliver the keynote address at the inaugural conference for the Concordia Summit, a new group that aims to deal with global issues through public/private partnerships. The first summit, which focuses on counterterrorism, will also feature remarks from Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili, and the former presidents of Colombia and Poland.
- Despite the goings-on in New York, the White House is trying to stick to its jobs/deficit reduction message. Vice President Joe Biden is in Ohio today touting the American Jobs Act, and Obama will visit the key battleground state Thursday to go on offence with his populist tax policy. The White House intends to be more combative this fall, using the inevitable Congressional opposition as a foil to Obama.
- The best indication of this new strategy comes from White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer in today’s The New York Times: “The popular narrative is that we sought compromise in a quixotic quest for independent votes. We sought out compromise because a failure to get funding of the government last spring and then an extension of the debt ceiling in August would have been very bad for the economy and for the country. We were in a position of legislative compromise by necessity. That phase is behind us.”
- But it comes with a cost: Obama has lost David Brooks. The New York Times columnist has been a cheerleader of the White House, but declared today that “I’m a sap, a specific kind of sap. I’m an Obama Sap.”
- In Washington, a new coalition of companies and business groups — including FedEx, Verizon, Walt Disney and the Association of American Railroads — is set to launch this morning to target the Super Committee on tax reform. The National Journal’s Chris Yates reports that the RATE — Reducing America’s Taxes Equitably — coalition will use a media, lobbying, and education campaign to push Congress and the White House to lower the corporate tax rate to make it more competitive with trading partners. The group, which will hold a briefing at the Capitol at 11 a.m., is co-chaired by advisors from both parties.
- And on the campaign trail, Michele Bachmann will continue to deliver her economic message during factory visits in Iowa today, amid slipping poll numbers. A new USA Today/Gallup poll shows Bachmann in a three-way tie with Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain at five per cent support. Her former campaign manager Ed Rollins said yesterday that the Minnesota Congresswoman doesn’t have the resources to get past the first-in-nation Iowa caucuses.
- Today marks the official end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The Army distributed a simple statement today saying that “the law has been repealed” and reminding soldiers to treat each other well. defence Secretary Leon Panetta and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen will hold a press conference today to outline the specifics. Check out Chris Heath’s Tell for an incredible chronicle of what life was like under the policy, available on Amazon Kindle.
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