Morning Briefing: June 2, 2011

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) will launch his presidential campaign in New Hampshire today by declaring that President Obama “has failed America.” Romney’s speech is expected to highlight mostly economic themes.

A new CNN/Opinion Research poll shows that 58 percent of Americans oppose the GOP’s Medicare plan, while just 35 percent support it. This includes 74 percent of seniors who oppose it, and even 54 percent of conservatives who oppose the plan.

After meeting with Sarah Palin on her bus tour in New York, Fox News executives said she remains under contract as a Fox News contributor. Though Fox has suspended Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum’s contracts, Fox’s vice president of programming said, “Right now there is no change in her status.”

The Global Commission on Drug Policy, which includes former heads of state, a former U.N. secretary-general, and a business mogul, issued a report showing that “the global war on drugs has failed with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.” The report calls on governments to end the criminalization of marijuana and other controlled substances. White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske called the report misguided.

House Republicans “postponed a Wednesday vote on Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s resolution to end U.S. involvement in the bombing of Libya because they were afraid it would pass.” The House GOP will hold a meeting today to discuss the Demcratic congressman’s resolution and may decide to bring it up in the future for a vote.

Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said President Obama did not “technicially” violate the War Powers Act by involving U.S. troops in Libya. Boehner said GOP leaders pulled a bill to withdraw the troops because “the House wasn’t ready to decide the question” and will meet today in a “closed-door meeting” on the issue.

Capitol Hill veterans are saying that President Obama’s judicial and executive branch nominees will have to reach the Senate before summer recess if they are to have any chance of being confirmed. Nominees who aren’t confirmed by then “likely will become tangled in election-year politics.” Dozens of key posts remain vacant, and several nominees have pulled out because of the impasse.

147 House Republicans “joined Democrats to restore $320 million for firefighter grants Wednesday evening,” bucking their party’s leadership. “To me, this is an invitation to an attack,” said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-NY), in opposing the cuts to the firefighter grants. “We cannot put ourselves in that position.”

And finally: The Donald Trump/Sarah Palin pizza summit yesterday attracted a lot of attention, but also some controversy over Trump’s use of plastic utensils to eat his pizza. Apparently seeking to squelch this scandal before it got out of hand, Trump took to YouTube to record a special video statement explaining his use of plastic utensils — he doesn’t eat the crust of pizza and doesn’t “carry around forks and knives.”

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