ThinkFast: May 26, 2010

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"ThinkFast: May 26, 2010"

Sen. Bob Corker

Following a meeting with the President yesterday, Senate Republicans snidely dumped on Obama to the press. “He needs to take a Valium before he comes in and talks to Republicans,” said Sen. Pat Roberts (KS). “He’s pretty thin-skinned.” It was “pretty audacious that he would be here today as we move into election season using Republican senators as a prop to talk about bipartisanship,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN).

Obama will “deploy 1,200 National Guard troops and request an extra $500 million to secure the Mexican border” over heightened concern about drug traffickers. The announcement came after Obama’s closed-door meeting with Senate Republicans, who dismissed it as “insufficient to win their cooperation on an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system.”

According to an internal BP report, “employees on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig missed several signs that there were problems with oil drilling below the surface in the hours leading up to the explosion.” The report, shown to Congress yesterday, “also showed that cement work – presumably done by Halliburton – failed to hold back hydrocarbons.”

Obama will announce this week that the government “will impose tougher safety requirements and more rigorous inspections on off-shore drilling operations.” The administration is facing criticism that it is not doing enough to combat the Gulf oil spill aftermath. “This is probably going to be…the worst environmental disaster this country has ever seen,” said energy adviser Carol Browner.

The South Korean government announced yesterday that it would re-designate North Korea as its “archenemy” in the wake of the sinking of a South Korean warship. In turn, North Korea severed “almost all of its remaining ties” to the South. While the confrontation has escalated, military officials said no additional U.S. combat forces have moved to the region.

At a fundraiser for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Obama was interrupted by a protester calling for a faster repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Obama responded, “Maybe he didn’t read the newspapers, because we’re working with Congress as we speak to roll back ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’.” Last month, Obama was heckled by the same protester at a Boxer fundraiser.

House Republicans are poised to “mount a vigorous defense” of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” ready to “vote en masse against the defense authorization bill if it includes an amendment to repeal the law.” Meanwhile, Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said yesterday that he “strongly opposes efforts to change the policy now,” suggesting he would against repeal.

In a new report released yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office found that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has “increased the number of people employed by between 1.2 million and 2.8 million” since it was signed into law. The report also found that the stimulus “lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.5 percentage points.”

Arizona’s new crackdown on illegal immigration will increase crime in U.S. cities, not reduce it, by driving a wedge between police and immigrant communities, police chiefs from several of the state’s and the nation’s largest cities” said yesterday. “This is a bill that makes it much harder for us to do our jobs,” Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said.

And finally: “He always looks so good, you know? It’s maddening. It takes me so much longer, and it doesn’t even look as good.” — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s hair.

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