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ThinkFast: August 12, 2010

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"ThinkFast: August 12, 2010"

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According to a new WSJ poll, “Just 24% express positive feelings about the Republican Party.” That number is the lowest on record in the 21-year history of the survey. “Democrats are only slightly more popular, but also near an all-time low.”

According to a new Pew Research poll, only one-third of Americans know that the Troubled Asset Relief Program was passed under President George W. Bush. Almost half (47 percent) responded that TARP was passed under President Obama, and 19 percent admitted they did not know who was president when it passed.

Referring to Robert Gibbs as “Bozo the Spokesman,” Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) yesterday called for the embattled White House spokesperson to be fired. “I don’t think he should resign, I think he should be fired. He’s done a miserable job,” Grayson said on MSNBC.

U.S. military officials are starting to build “a case to minimize the planned withdrawal of some troops from Afghanistan starting next summer.” Top U.S. commander in Afghanistan Gen. David Petraeus is taking steps to make the argument that a “rapid withdrawal” would be unwise, while expert officers in the field “have begun quietly telling administration officials that they need time to get their work done.”

Iraqi army chief of staff Lt. Gen. Babakar Zebari, the country’s most senior military official, warned yesterday that the full withdrawal of U.S. forces at the end of next year may be premature. Zebari said his troops will not be “fully ready” until 2020 and the loss of U.S. troops would leave “a void.”

The Dow fell 265 points yesterday as investors registered concern about a renewed recession. “Investors’ gloom deepened a day after the Federal Reserve said it would begin buying government bonds as a way to stimulate the economy. News of slower industrial growth in China and a disappointing economic indicator in Japan helped send stocks plunging first in Asia, then in Europe.”

“About 340,000 of the 4.3 million babies born in the United States in 2008 — or 8 percent — had at least one parent who was an illegal immigrant,” according to a new study by the Pew Hispanic Center. About 85 percent of the undocumented immigrant parents are Hispanic.

The U.S. Senate will return from summer recess Thursday for a rare and brief mid-August session to pass a $600 million border security bill and a resolution honoring the late Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK). But “don’t expect to see Senators flying back to Washington or on the Senate floor,” as the measures will be passed by unanimous consent agreement or voice vote which does not require their attendance.

While Tea Party candidates like Rand Paul (R-KY) “tout their anti-establishment credentials,” “much of their financial clout comes from veteran Republicans” like Dick Armey, Sarah Palin, and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). The president of Armey’s FreedomWorks called the Tea Party “a hostile takeover of the Republican Party” and reported training 50 Tea party activists last weekend to help to “reshape” the party.

And finally: Last night’s episode of “Top Chef” featured House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as a guest judge. Calling herself a long-time “foodie,” Pelosi said, “As speaker, any meeting that we have, our motto is ‘first we eat.’” She later criticized a dish for being “too salty” and praised one team for its “al dente” angel hair, which she said is a hard feat to achieve.

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