ThinkFast: May 27, 2009

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"ThinkFast: May 27, 2009"

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Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said in response to Judge Sotomayor’s nomination yesterday that Republicans need to be “very cautious and careful” about criticizing her as it could damage their “standing with Hispanics.” Former Bush adviser Mark McKinnon remarked, “If Republicans make a big deal of opposing Sotomayor, we will be hurling ourselves off a cliff.”

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) said yesterday that he would carry out the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding Prop. 8 but that he also believes in same-sex marriage. “I think he was hoping it would go the other way,” said spokesman Aaron McLear. The governor added: “While I believe that one day either the people or courts will recognize gay marriage, as governor of California I will uphold the decision.”

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey said yesterday that the “Pentagon is prepared to leave fighting forces in Iraq for as long as a decade despite an agreement between the United States and Iraq that would bring all American troops home by 2012.” “He said his planning envisions combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for a decade as part of a U.S. commitment to fighting extremism in the Middle East.”

Conservative groups are set to launch ad campaigns attacking the Democrats’ proposed health-care reform plan. Americans for Prosperity Foundation’s TV ads will negatively liken the Democrats’ plan “to Canada’s publicly administered system” while Conservatives for Patients’ Rights plans to air 30-minute segments featuring doctors and patients from the UK and Canada “detailing what they describe as failings in their health-care systems.”

Consumer confidence soared to the highest level in eight months in May, trouncing analysts’ estimates, as Americans grew optimistic that the job market and business conditions will improve before year’s end.” Though consumer confidence is still weak by historical standards, Lynn Franco of the Consumer Research Center says that Americans now think “the worst is now behind us.”

Economist Nouriel Roubini warned today that we “are not yet at the bottom of the U.S. and the global recession.” “A more sober analysis suggests we’re closer to the bottom; there is light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s going to take a while longer, and the recovery is going to be weaker than otherwise expected,” he added during a speech at the Seoul Digital Forum.

Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL) “can be heard on an FBI audio recording promising to make a campaign contribution to then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich at the same time he was pressing the governor for a Senate appointment.” Talking to the governor’s brother, Burris promises to help fundraise for Blagojevich, adding, “And tell Rod to keep me in mind for that seat, would ya?”

Former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik was indicted yesterday “on charges of making false statements to White House officials vetting him” to be the secretary of Homeland Security in 2004. Kerik, who was recommended for the job by Rudy Giuliani, allegedly “received and concealed benefits of about $255,000 in renovations to his home from contractors seeking to do business” with NYC.

In a move aimed at integrating the White House national security apparatus, President Obama announced that “will merge the staffs of the Homeland Security Council and the National Security Council to speed up and unify security policymaking inside the White House.” “The combined national security staff, about 240 people, will report to national security adviser James L. Jones.”

And finally: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) came out swinging yesterday against President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor. He said that she “comes from the far left and will likely leave us with something akin to the ‘Extreme Court‘ that could mark a major shift.” The only problem? His attack was directed at “Maria Sotomayor.” Politico’s Ben Smith notes that the error was quickly corrected on Huckabee’s website.

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