Morning Briefing: July 27, 2011

According to a new analysis, the U.S. ranks fifth highest in debt among the world’s largest economies. Based on data from 30 of the biggest economies around the world, the Associated Press Global Economy Tracker finds that Japan, Greece, Thailand, and India all have higher debt as a percentage of their GDP. U.S. debt was equivalent to 95 percent of the GDP in the first three months of the year.

A new poll finds that most voters align with President Obama’s position on the debt ceiling. Fifty-six percent said they want to see “a mix of spending cuts and tax increases,” a fact that made one pollster say that “the popular narrative is falling on the side of the president on this one.”

White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley dismissed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s support for Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) debt plan, calling it a mere “political statement” from the GOP-aligned business lobby. Daley also said he was surprised to learn of the endorsement, as he had spoken with the Chamber’s president earlier in the day yesterday.

Fourteen female senators are protesting Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving. The senators sent a letter to Saudi King Abdullah, calling on the country to honor equal rights commitments made to the United Nations and the Arab Charter on Human Rights. The letter, released by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), adds official pressure to a growing movement against the ban that’s developed in recent weeks.

By “a single vote, the North Carolina House on Tuesday overrode the governor’s veto of a bill intended to discourage abortions by requiring women to wait 24 hours, receive counseling and be shown an ultrasound before the operation can take place.” The bill passed 72-47.

Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA) appointed UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the California Supreme Court yesterday, two months after Republican opposition forced him to withdraw his nomination to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Brown said Liu, who will replace the court’s only Latino and only Democrat, is “a nationally-recognized expert on constitutional law” and will be “an outstanding addition to our state supreme court.”

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) was arrested outside the White House yesterday while taking part in a protest of the Obama administration’s deportation policies. It is the second time the congressman has been arrested outside the White House for protesting Obama’s immigration policies.

And finally: Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich finally closed out his credit lines at high-end jeweler Tiffany, but told a Boston TV station that he really doesn’t see what the big ideal about it is. “I love my wife,” Gingrich said, adding that he likes to buy her “nice things.”

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