Morning Briefing: July 25, 2011

After bipartisan debt talks broke down over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced he is crafting a $2.7 trillion deficit reduction package that would raise the debt ceiling but includes no new revenues. The plan is a major concession to Republicans who have insisted they will not vote for any plan which raises taxes. Nevertheless, Republicans have not embraced the plan and are said to be devising a separate one of their own.

The White House is pushing back against Republicans who now support a short-term deal after opposing it initially. Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, in a release this morning, hit House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who all opposed the short-term increase as recently as late June.

“Good riddance” to the grand debt bargain, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman wrote Sunday. Krugman called Obama’s reported offers of fundamental changes to Medicare “terrible policy” and “almost surely…terrible politics too,” saying that means-testing Medicare beneficiaries or raising the eligibility age would be “a very bad deal for America.”

The man accused of the killing spree in Norway was “deeply influenced” by a small group of anti-Islam bloggers in the U.S., “lacing his 1,500-page manifesto with quotations from them.” He quoted Jihad Watch’s Robert Spencer 64 times, in addition to blogger Pamela Geller, who led the campaign against the Park 51 Islamic center in New York City last year.

The first legal same-sex marriages in New York took place yesterday to much fanfare and celebration. Many of the couples who were finally able to wed have been together for decades. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo hosted a party for same-sex marriage advocates, while Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg presided at a wedding in the backyard of Gracie Mansion.

GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (MN) camp hit back at her rival Tim Pawlenty, saying there is “very little daylight” between “Pawlenty’s past positions and Barack Obama’s positions.” In her first strong rebuke of Pawlenty’s “repeated jabs at her record,” Bachmann said, “I have a lifetime record of success and action in the real world.”

The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, said the U.S. does not want permanent bases in Afghanistan. However, he also said there will be no “rush for the exits” by the international forces there.

President Obama will address immigration at the National Council of La Raza’s annual conference today. The Latino civil rights group leader Janet Murgia said, “Hispanics want to hear from Obama on a range of issues on which he has yet to take action,” including immigration reform.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is calling for a House Ethics Committee investigation of Rep. David Wu (D-OR), who has been accused of having an “unwanted sexual encounter” with a teenager. Wu, the first-ever Chinese-American congressman, has been seeking treatment for an unknown mental health ailment since earlier this year.

And finally: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was known for being tough on crime, but this week he’ll be promoting it on AMC where Giuliani is hosting “Mob Week”, a bloc of programming featuring movies like the “Godfather.”

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