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ThinkFast: June 10, 2010

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"ThinkFast: June 10, 2010"

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Earlier this week, President Obama told NBC that he had not yet talked to BP CEO Tony Hayward. ABC’s Jake Tapper reports that will change next week. White House officials say Obama is planning to say “a few words” to Hayward when he visits D.C. next week.

BP shares “plunged” in London trading today, “as political pressure mounted over the spill in the Gulf of Mexico and investors were shaken by the prospect that the British oil giant might cut its dividend.” UK business leaders are upset at the criticism the Obama administration is directing at BP, and Prime Minister David Cameron will be speaking with Obama about BP this weekend.

Following a meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, President Obama “called on Wednesday for sharply limiting Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip” and “announced a $400 million aid package for the West Bank and Gaza Strip. “The key here is making sure that Israel’s security needs are met but that the needs of people in Gaza are also met,” said Obama.

McClatchy has obtained an Israeli government document that describes the country’s Gaza blockade not as a security measure but as “economic warfare” against Hamas. The document emerged in response to a lawsuit by Gisha, an Israeli human rights group. Israel has previously claimed that the blockade’s goal was to stop the flow of arms into Gaza.

“One day after the Security Council approved new sanctions against them,” Iranian authorities threatened “to revise their relationship with the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, using familiar language that has in the past presaged moves to limit global oversight of Iran’s nuclear program.” Iranian leaders also lashed out at China’s support for the sanctions, saying it would “affect its standing in the Muslim world.”

Gen. Stanley McChrystal said that “major parts” of offensive military operations to secure Kandahar are going to be “pushed back because it was taking longer than expected to win local support.” The military surge was expected to begin in June and largely end by August, but the general said he doesn’t “intend to hurry it.”

Congressional staffers said that a vote on the nomination of President Obama’s choice for national intelligence director, Gen. James Clapper (ret.), could be delayed because of questions about whether Clapper would be too close to the Pentagon. In a newly disclosed memo, Clapper “questions whether the national intelligence director should have new powers proposed in the 2010 intelligence authorization bill.”

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar “defended the Obama administration’s six-month federal moratorium on deepwater drilling” yesterday in testimony to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Salazar said the moratorium was necessary so they “can assure the American public” that as they “move forward with any kind of deepwater operation” it can be done “in a safe way.”

A new poll conducted by Stanford University finds that three out of four Americans still believe in man-made global warming. However, the same poll found that 84 percent held such beliefs in 2007.

And finally: A birther finds a way to connect President Obama to BP.

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The WonkLine: June 10, 2010 ›

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