Morning Briefing: June 17, 2011

Last night at Netroots Nation, former Sen. Russ Feingold warned the Democratic Party that it is in danger of losing its soul “if it accepts corporate contributions in 2012.” If Democrats play by the Republicans’ rules, he said, “People will see us as weak. People will see us as Corporate Lite.”

Attorney General Eric Holder told a gathering at the American Constitution Society conference that “decisions about how, where, and when to prosecute must be made by prosecutors, not politicians.” Civilian courts help us “secure actionable intelligence” and gain international cooperation, Holder argued.

One year ago today, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), who has received $1.5 million in career campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, faced public outrage when he apologized to BP. A year after the spill, the New Orleans’ Times Picayune reported that Congress “has done virtually nothing to address the issues raised by the oil spill.”

Commenting on the status of the bipartisan debt-reduction talks, Vice President Joe Biden said, “Now we’re getting down to the real hard stuff: I’ll trade you my bicycle for your golf clubs.” Negotiators will begin “working around the clock” to reach an agreement by July 4 on reducing the debt by $4 trillion over the next 10 years.

A Gallup survey finds that 44 percent of registered voters would vote for the “Republican Party’s candidate” compared to 39 percent for President Obama. “Now that the rally in support for Obama is essentially over, the president appears to be in a slightly weaker position but still very competitive with his as-yet-unnamed opponent.”

A poll conducted by a nonpartisan group finds that likely voters in Texas approve of President Obama (51 percent) almost as much as they approve of Gov. Rick Perry (54 percent).

And finally: Tim Pawlenty got glittered. Receiving the same treatment that Newt Gingrich recently experienced, Tim Pawlenty was doused with glitter confetti by activists in San Francisco who complained that he wasn’t showing the courage to stand up for LGBT equality and women’s reproductive rights.

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