Morning Briefing: July 15, 2011

The executive at the center of the News Corp. hacking scandal, News International CEO Rebekah Brooks, resigned today, saying she felt “deep responsibility for the people we have hurt.” Brooks, who was editor of News of the World during much of the alleged hacking, had received resignation calls from the British prime minister, but News Corp. head Rupert Murdoch publicly defended her.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani came to Rupert Murdoch’s defense on CNN yesterday, saying it’s important to maintain a “presumption of innocence.” Giuliani and Murdoch are old friends, and the media titan is a former client of the ex-mayor.

Speaking at an event in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, GOP presidential primary candidate Herman Cain claimed a mosque being built there would ominously be spreading Sharia law. “This is just another way to try to gradually sneak Shariah law into our laws, and I absolutely object to that,” said Cain.

Standard & Poor’s “says there’s a 50 percent chance it will downgrade the credit rating for U.S. debt in the next 90 days.” The credit agency say it may do this even if a deal is reached to raise the debt ceiling.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) and GOP negotiators have reached a deal to end that state’s government shutdown. The plan would “borrow money from the state’s K-12 schools and future payments to the state from a tobacco settlement in order to close a $5 billion budget deficit.”

According to new disclosure reports, Sarah Palin’s political action committee spent tens of thousands of dollars covering the costs of a bus tour that Palin had repeatedly characterized as a “family vacation.” “The committee spent $10,000 on ‘logistical trip consulting,’ $3,600 to the bus driver and at least $7,000 on lodging.”

After stating that he couldn’t remember “any terrorist attacks on American soil” between 2000-2008, Fox host Eric Bolling decided to rip his critics for pointing out the falsity of that statement. Bolling said that “obviously” he had meant that there were no domestic terror attacks in the aftermath of 9/11, but that the “radical liberal left pounced on us and me” instead of letting the statement go.

And finally: Congressional Democrats “got some sweet payback for their 2010 electoral drubbing with a resounding 8-2 victory” over their GOP colleagues at last night’s Congressional Baseball Game, held at Nationals Park in DC. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) didn’t play, but “emerged for a post-game interview in a crisp white shirt” to say he had fun and that he was still impeding budget talks.

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