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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 06/22/2012

Morning Bits

We aren’t going back. “House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said he doesn’t plan to try and reinstate ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ (DADT), the former ban on gays serving openly in the military, if Republicans were to take the Senate and Mitt Romney won the White House in November.”

Back to the future. “As Ronald Reagan’s expensive defense build-up stretched the Soviet Union thin, the Romney campaign’s massive ad buys are aimed as much at broadening the playing field as at persuasion, forcing Obama and his allies to spread their resources thin and to play defense in formerly safe states. Wednesday, there were early signs that the strategy is working, as Obama reported a ‘burn rate’ far in excess of the Republican’s. ‘It’s just like the Cold War. They’re going to force Obama to spend himself into oblivion — while trying to peel off constituencies like the Eastern Bloc,’ said a Democratic strategist, citing lingering vulnerability with blue-collar workers and potential Republican gains with Hispanics. ‘The only question is which [constituency] will be the first domino.’ ”

Winning Michigan seemed like a pipe dream for Romney back in January. Now: “According to poll numbers released by Mitchell Research, President Obama has a 1 percent lead over Romney in Michigan. Mitchell has Obama at 47 percent and Romney at 46 percent of the state’s votes. The snapshot of the tri-county area, excluding Detroit, shows Romney in the lead with 53 percent to Obama’s 47 percent.”

Back in a defensive crouch, Jay Carney got hammered by Jake Tapper (again): “In early 2011 the Justice Department wrote a letter to Congress in which they said something that was not true. . . . They said that ATF had nothing to do with guns going over into Mexico. That wasn’t true. And it took them until December 2011 to take that back. Does — is there not a legitimate investigative and oversight responsibility to find out what the Department of Justice knew when they were giving false information to Congress?” Ouch.

You could see this coming back in March. “For the past year, [Rob] Portman has been mentioned as a leading vice presidential contender. But the Ohio Republican’s smooth, steady run as a veep favorite isn’t happenstance, or merely a by-product of his swing-state roots. Portman has earned the interest. Ever since Portman endorsed Romney in January, ahead of Ohio’s March primary, the freshman senator has been a quiet but key Romney surrogate. On the trail, he’s a frequent presence at Romney’s side, and he has traveled to North Carolina and Pennsylvania to stump.” Read the whole thing.

Remember way back when, you know, when Dennis Ross said sanctions and talks would work? “With high-stakes negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program at an impasse, the Obama administration is under mounting pressure to rethink a diplomatic exercise that many argue is simply stringing along the rest of the world. . . . Dennis B. Ross, a former senior White House adviser on Iran, said he believed the negotiations had become a trap, allowing Iran to continue enriching nuclear fuel while the two sides fail to agree on even interim measures to slow the Iranian program.”

When START was being negotiated back in 2010, many of us saw this coming. “Two senior leaders of the House Armed Services Committee this week criticized President Obama’s forthcoming plan to seek deeper cuts in strategic nuclear warheads, calling a Pentagon study on the matter ‘unilateral disarmament.’ House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Howard P. ‘Buck’ McKeon and Rep. Michael Turner, chairman of the strategic forces subcommittee, . . . said in a statement issued Tuesday that Obama’s meeting this week in Mexico with Russian President Vladimir Putin raises new concerns about unilateral U.S. cuts in the nuclear arsenal. ‘To be clear, the White House has yet to announce how it plans to implement the unilateral reductions of the New START Treaty,’ they said. ‘At the same time, the president’s promised modernization plan isn’t being delivered.’ ”

Obama might look back on early June as the good part of the month. “Because two events – one which just happened and one that will happen next week – may turn out to be powerful, and even crippling, body blows to the president. The first one is the burgeoning ‘Fast and Furious’ scandal, which has now been elevated from a secondary story to a major one. The president’s assertion of executive privilege is without foundation – a transparent effort to protect his attorney general, and possibly himself, from a legitimate congressional inquiry about a scandalous policy failure. . . . In addition, next week, the Supreme Court will in all likelihood announce its decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. If the Court overturns the ACA, in whole or in part, it will be devastating to the president.”

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 06/22/2012

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
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