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

Penelope Cruz

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

1. President Obama will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu today.  Yesterday, Mr. Obama called for the creation of a Palestinian state based on Israel’s pre-1967 borders.  The speech provoked an icy response from Mr. Netanyahu. 

2. President Obama’s speech has already produced considerable commentary.  Walter Mead says the president was channeling his inner George W. Bush. John Podhoretz argues that the president mucked up a perfectly good speech about the Arab Spring by throwing in the Palestinian state boundary lines at the end.

3. The bulk of the president’s speech was indeed devoted to US policy in the Middle East and North Africa, in the wake of the uprisings across the region.  President Obama embraced the wave of discontent and urged Arab leaders to commit to orderly political transition, more entrepreneurial economies, and far-reaching political reform.

4. The march toward Greek default continued apace. The yield on Greece’s 10-year government bond rose to record levels as speculation rose that the eurozone nation would default on its debt repayments.

5. The Wall Street Journal reports: “Weekend elections that threaten to drive Spain’s ruling Socialist party from power in several regions and cities also promise a potentially nasty surprise: the revelation of piles of undisclosed debt in local governments that could undercut the country’s drive to avoid an international bailout.”

6. Senate Democrats, led by Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND), yesterday decided not to release their spending plan to counter the House GOP budget blueprint, saying they will wait to see whether the so-called Biden Group produces a compromise plan for paring the national debt.

7. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said yesterday: “We have a plan.  It’s called Medicare.”  She said she would oppose any effort to cut Medicare benefits.

8. Will 2012, like 2006, 2008 and 2010, be another “wave election” year?  No one knows for sure, but that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate.  A new poll points to a strong wave of anti-incumbent sentiment.

9. Newt Gingrich campaigned in Iowa, drawing good crowds and considerable interest after having been nearly run out of the race by a gaggle of apparently hysterical conservative commentators.

10. Former Ambassador Jon Huntsman’s decision to base his campaign in Orlando, Florida and his recent remarks to Time magazine that he is a “very spiritual person” (meaning: not a Mormon per se) has caused some consternation in Salt Lake City. Which is what Amb. Huntsman’s handlers were hoping would happen.

11. Paul Krugman has a positively jolly column (for him) today on the revival of American manufacturing.

12. We are reliably informed that the end of the world will not occur until 6pm tomorrow.  So you still have time to see Penelope Cruz in Pirates of the Caribbean.