Morning Briefing: January 20, 2012

Suicides among active-duty soldiers hit a record high in 2011. According to a report released Thursday, 164 active-duty Army, National Guard, and Reserve soldiers took their own lives, compared to 159 in 2010 and 162 in 2009. When non-mobilized National Guard and Reserve troops are included, suicides dropped to 278 in 2011, from 305 in 2010.

Demonstrators are planning to “occupy” courthouses in cities across the country on today, including the U.S. Supreme Court, to protest the two-year anniversary of the controversial Citizens United ruling. “Why the courts? Because frankly folks, that’s the scene of the crime,” said David Cobb, an organizer of the protests.

Newt Gingrich’s campaign released his 2010 tax return Thursday night just before the South Carolina debate, showing that Gingrich and his wife earned $3.1 million last year and paid 30 percent of it in taxes. That’s more than twice the rate Mitt Romney pays.

While Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) will deliver the official GOP response to the President Obama’s State of the Union Address Tuesday, ex-GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain will deliver the “Tea Party response,” sponsored by Tea Party Express.


Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) will endorse Mitt Romney today, one day before the South Carolina primary. McDonnell says his message will be “if you want to win the race in November, vote for Mitt Romney.”

Tensions between the House GOP leaders are apparently causing strain in the caucus, leading some lawmakers to call on Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) to put aside their differences at a closed-door House GOP conference.

The CIA’s top lawyer never approved helping the New York City Police Department set up its controversial spying operation, the AP reports. “Such approval would have been required under the presidential order that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said authorized the unusual assignment.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has thrown in the towel on PIPA, and is calling on Senate Democrats to shelf the anti-piracy bill. “While we must combat the on-line theft of intellectual property, current proposals in Congress raise serious legal, policy and operational concerns,” McConnell said.

And finally: If this whole president thing doesn’t work out for Barack Obama, he has a promising career as a crooner ahead of him. At a fundraiser at the legendary Apollo Theater in New York City last night, Obama sang a few lines of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” and he sung it amazingly well. Watch it here.

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