ThinkFast: September 10, 2009


Last night during his speech before Congress, President Obama referenced a letter he received from the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, which was delivered posthumously. In the letter, Kennedy tells Obama, “You will be the President who at long last signs into law the health care reform that is the great unfinished business of our society.”

Sixty seven percent of Americans who watched President Obama’s joint address to Congress last night support his health care plans, “a 14-point gain among speech-watchers” according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll. Three out of four Americans also “said it’s very or somewhat likely that the president will pass most of his proposals on health care reform through Congress.”

Last night on MSNBC, White House adviser David Axelrod told Rachel Maddow, “I believe that there’ll be some sort of public option in the final legislation. Whether it comes with a trigger or not, I don’t know.”

61 of the 72 House Republicans in South Carolina have signed a letter sent to Governor Mark Sanford (R-SC) yesterday asking him to resign due to inappropriate conduct revolving around his affair with an Argentine woman. The letter concludes, “We have collectively come to the conclusion that South Carolina will not be able to move forward under your leadership.”

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) responded to Rep. Joe Wilson’s (R-SC) heckling of the president last night by saying that Wilson “took our state’s reputation to a new low.” “I thought Mark Sanford had taken it as low as it could go, but this is beyond the pale,” said Clyburn.

The Labor Department reported yesterday that U.S. job openings fell to a record low in July. The Department noted that there were only 2.4 million job openings during the month, the fewest since it started tracking them in 2000.

Iran “‘is now either very near or in possession’ of enough low-enriched uranium to produce one nuclear weapon,” according to Glyn Davies, the chief U.S. envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, who offered “some of the toughest remarks by an Obama administration official on Iran’s nuclear ambitions” yesterday.

This week’s New York Times Magazine profiles J Street, the year-old lobbying group with progressive views on Israel. “We’re trying to redefine what it means to be pro-Israel. You don’t have to be noncritical. You don’t have to adopt the party line. It’s not, ‘Israel, right or wrong,'” J Street founder and executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami told magazine.

Former Bush chief of staff Andrew Card is considering a run for the Massachusetts U.S. Senate seat vacated by Kennedy. “I would like very much to run for the U.S. Senate,” Card said, adding that he will announce his final decision in the next three to four days.

And finally: Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) slipped up yesterday when he tried to crack a pop culture joke. “I know a lot of you have come in to see Bennifer,” Nelson said at a press conference with the actress Jennifer Garner yesterday, referring to her husband, Ben Affleck. “I’m not the Ben associated with that.” The tabloids used the shorthand Bennifer, however, to refer to Affleck’s former relationship with singer Jennifer Lopez.

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