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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 07/14/2011

Morning Bits

Hillary Clinton and President Obama have repeatedly whiffed on foreign policy. Could voters have expected that “each wary, vacillating toe we dip in the world’s water should splash us with toxicity; that our every uncertain foreign venture should cover us in ignominy”?

President Obama is O for 2 in the Middle East. In addition to a plunge in U.S. popularity in the region, the Quartet meetings were a flop. “The main tasks of American diplomacy were to persuade the Quartet envoys that the draft statement wasn’t really just an American document but was fully reflective of their brilliance and wisdom; and then to persuade the principals that the draft was just a draft and that the minor word changes they inserted changed everything and made the document new and significant. . . . But the Obama team cannot seem to get it right any more than the president himself can seem to establish warm and effective personal relations with foreign leaders.” Read the whole thing.

Sen. John Cornyn wants to toss out Obama’s Medicare rationing board (IPAB). “I am concerned that the only tool in the IPAB toolbox will be cutting payments to providers, and we are already seeing how government price controls are restricting access to care. On one hand saying you’re covered by a government program, on the other hand saying because of restricted payments to providers, good luck finding a doctor who will see you at that price.”

The Medicare chief actuary calls foul. “When asked about the impact of these price controls on seniors’ access to quality care, Medicare’s chief actuary replied: ‘We’d like not to find out . . .’ ”

On deck: “GOP governors and members of Congress, in not-for-attribution comments, and leading strategists like Karl Rove all say the same thing: Perry’s in. So what’s the holdup? Those close to Perry say despite the strong hints that both he and his high command are dropping in conversations with senior Republicans — hints that have left party elites in Texas and beyond convinced that Perry will enter the [presidential] race — the country’s longest-serving governor has not yet made up his mind. Questions about money and infrastructure remain.”

Tax increases have relatively few fans. Gallup reports: “20% saying deficit reduction should come only through spending cuts. That percentage is a little higher, 26%, among those who identify as Republicans. Republicans do, however, tilt heavily in favor of reducing the deficit primarily if not exclusively with spending cuts (67%) as opposed to tax increases (3%). Fifty-one percent of independents share that preference. Democrats are most inclined to want equal amounts of spending cuts and tax increases (42%), though more favor a tilt toward spending cuts (33%) than tax increases (20%).”

Boehner suggests naming rights for the White House should go to a popular dessert company. “Dealing with them the last couple months has been like dealing with Jell-o. . . . “Some days it’s firmer than others. Sometimes it’s like they’ve left it out over night. . . . The only thing they’ve been firm on is these damn tax increases.”

The potential that debt negotiators may not strike a deal causes Moody’s to issue a warning: “The ‘rising possibility’ that the debt limit will not be raised by Aug. 2 has driven Moody’s Investors Service to put the nation’s triple-A credit rating on review for a downgrade. In a statement, the credit-rating agency warned that the risk of a default on U.S. obligations, while low, had risen. A default would ‘fundamentally alter Moody’s assessment of the timeliness of future payments, and a AAA rating would likely no longer be appropriate,’ Moody’s stated shortly after markets closed Wednesday.”

News Corp. forfeits the chance to grab BSkyB: “News Corp. dropped its bid to take full control of British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC, a sharp retreat for the media giant as it acknowledged that getting the deal through would be difficult in the current climate, amid a scandal over reporting tactics at one of its U.K. tabloid newspapers.”

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 07/14/2011

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
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