ThinkFast: May 29, 2009


In a speech to the Atlantic Council yesterday, National Security Advisor Gen. Jim Jones rebutted Vice President Cheney’s assertion that the country is less safe under President Obama. He said that the current administration has rejected “the false choice between our security and our ideals” and the United States “is not only safe but it will be more secure…because of the president’s leadership.”

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) is “circulating the outlines of sweeping health-care legislation that would require every American to have insurance and would mandate that employers contribute to workers’ coverage.” The proposal also “calls for opening Medicaid to those whose incomes are 500 percent of the federal poverty level, or $110,250 a year for a family of four.”

On a conference call with Organizing for America volunteers yesterday, President Obama said it’s now or never for health care reform. “If we don’t get it done this year, we’re not going to get it done,” Obama said, urging callers to “work in your communities” to build support for reform. “[W]e’ve got to get it done this year,” Obama repeated.

Despite having ready access to the White House, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) sent in a suggestion to the White House website’s online suggestion box that currently has more votes — 599 — than any other idea. Boehner called on the White House “to back a mandatory 72-hour review period before Congress votes on any major spending bill.”

“The White House scrambled yesterday to assuage worries from liberal groups about Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s scant record on abortion rights.” Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that President Obama never asked her about her view of abortion rights, but that he lwas “very comfortable with her interpretation of the Constitution being similar to that of his,” an indication that she agrees with the basis of Roe v. Wade.

The Obama administration asked a federal appeals court yesterday “to halt the release of disturbing images of detainee abuse, saying the photos could incite violence in Pakistan as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan.” The court papers “cite two partially secret statements from two top U.S. generals, David Petraeus and Ray Odierno. Such arguments failed to sway the court in the past.”

The Obama administration “is aiming to use the bankruptcy process to strip” Chrysler and General Motors of their debts and reconstitute them as “more viable global competitors.” Chrysler is “pushing to create a new company in bankruptcy” while GM’s bankruptcy plan “aims to sell off the automaker’s productive assets to a new revived GM.”

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack “issued a temporary order yesterday governing development in ‘roadless’ areas of national forests, requiring all new projects to be approved by him personally.” The order is not a ban and officials said that it is “unclear whether projects with a strictly commercial aim, such as logging or mining, will be allowed.”

And finally: “American Idol” winner and Arkansas native Kris Allen has teamed up with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee for a duet. In a taping for his show set to air on Saturday, Huckabee backs up Allen on bass for “Yesterday” by The Beatles. “Maybe someday I could be the Governor of Arkansas, right?” asks Allen during the appearance. “It’s a great gig,” replies Huckabee. “It really is.”

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