Good morning! Here’s what you need to know:
1. The white working class is the most alienated and pessimistic demographic cohort in American society, writes Ron Brownstein at National Journal. Survey research indicates that their pessimism and alienation are hardening as opportunities diminish.
2. The Financial Times reports that the US economy is stumbling, with revised data showing a weaker pattern of growth in the first quarter. The Bureau of Economic Analysis kept its growth estimate at an annualized 1.8 per cent, dashing hopes that it would be revised upwards, and said that consumption growth was weaker than it previously thought.
3. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Pakistan today, seeking to ease tensions and make clear US expectations. Relations between the two countries are in disrepair. US national security officials are increasingly concerned that Pakistan is becoming a failed state.
4. Saudi Arabia is throwing its considerable financial and diplomatic weight around in the Middle East, seeking to slow the tide of change and counter-balance Iranian initiatives in the region.
5. In addition, Saudi Arabia is enlisting the support of several Muslim nations in the Middle East and Asia to form an “informal” alliance against Iran.
6. Protesters in Syria have adopted a new tactic: demonstrating at night. The cover of darkness makes identification of the protesters more difficult and seems to lower the possibility that soldiers will shoot into crowds.
8. Mitt Romney will formally announce his candidacy for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination on June 2nd. Mr. Romney will campaign in Iowa today, where he is running a much different campaign than he did four years ago.
9. Sarah Palin announced yesterday that she would embark on a “One Nation” bus tour of the Northeast, beginning with an appearance at the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally on Memorial Day in Washington, DC. The bus tour will take her to New Hampshire, fueling speculation that it is a tune-up for the 2012 GOP presidential campaign.
10. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum will announce his candidacy for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination on June 6th. Rep. Michele Bachmann is expected to announce her candidacy shortly thereafter.
11. defence Secretary Robert Gates delivered a kind of farewell policy address at the American Enterprise Institute earlier this week. You can read the full text here. It is worth your time.