Good morning! Here’s what you need to know:1. President Obama’s re-election campaign began in earnest yesterday. For the moment, the campaign is focused on “reaching out” to independent voters in swing states and raising money. The Obama campaign will seek to raise more than $750 million for the re-election effort.
2. The first act of the re-election effort was to reverse course on the prosecution of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. KSM, as he is known, will be tried by a US military tribunal at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.
3. The second act of the re-election campaign was a news leak. NPR reported that General David Petraeus will be offered the job of CIA Director. The current CIA Director, Leon Panetta, is widely believed to be heading over to the Pentagon to replace defence Secretary Robert Gates, who is retiring from public life.
4. US Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) today will introduce the House Republicans’ budget for 2012. According to the New York Times, it represents a “fundamental rethinking” of how Medicare and Medicaid work. It seeks to reduce Federal spending over 10 years by roughly $6.2 trillion. Good WSJ analysis here.
5. NYT Columnist David Brooks offers up praise for the House GOP’s 2012 budget plan, an effort that was led by Congressman Ryan. Brooks notes that President Obama had exactly the same opportunity to seriously address the cost of entitlement spending, but chose not to protect his political base.
6. President Obama will meet with Congressional leaders today at the White House to try to get a deal done on funding for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year. The Federal government will shut down this weekend if a deal is not reached.
7. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, in a letter to Congress yesterday, pleaded with lawmakers to raise the Federal debt ceiling. He said the federal government will hit its legal borrowing limit on 16 May and could default on its debt by 8 July.
8. Today is election day in Wisconsin. Voters will decide whether to keep the current 4-3 GOP majority balance on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court or reverse it. The balloting is widely view as a referendum on the policies of newly-elected Governor Scott Walker.
9. Influential blogger Clyde Prestowitz calls on Jeffrey Immelt to either step down as Chairman and CEO of GE or resign as head of President Obama’s Economic Advisory Board. Prestowitz thinks he should step down at GE and devote himself to helping save the United States.
10. The New York Times reports that “counterterrorism operations in Yemen have ground to a halt, allowing Al Qaeda’s deadliest branch outside of Pakistan to operate more freely inside the country and to increase plotting for possible attacks against Europe and the United States.”
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