Morning Briefing: June 20, 2011

Despite their disagreements with the administration, liberal activists and bloggers at Netroots Nation still support President Barack Obama, according to a straw poll taken at the popular annual conference. The poll conducted in Minneapolis revealed that fully 80 percent of attendees either approve or strongly approve of Obama’s performance.

Departing American ambassador to Afghanistan Karl W. Eikenberry took a parting shot by rebuking president Hamid Karzai on Sunday. Eikenberry lashed out at Karzai’s incendiary criticisms of the coalition forces in his country, whom he has threatened to denounce as occupiers.

Today, a federal judge in Atlanta will hear arguments from civil rights organizations who say that Georgia’s new immigration law is unconstitutional. The groups filed a class-action lawsuit earlier in June, asking the court to block the law before it goes into effect on July 1. The state’s lawyers have filed a motion to dismiss the case.

Polling conducted by a local news outlet in Utah found that most voters want to replace Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). The KSL/Desert News poll found that “59 percent of voters said the Utah Republican has been in office too long and needs replacing.”


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said yesterday on Meet the Press that Republicans are open to raising more revenue as a part of deficit reduction. The senator did say that this revenue must be raised from eliminating subsidies or tax deductions, not by raising taxes.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) suggested a short-term increase in the debt limit yesterday. Unless a “really significant” deal that includes entitlement reform is reached, McConnell said, “We’ll probably end up with a very short-term proposal over a few months, and we’ll be back having the same discussion in the fall.”

An opponent of GOP presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman released a recent letter that slammed Huntsman’s family business in Iran “for selling polyurethane that could be used in solid fuel for Iranian missiles.” The late Richard Holbrooke’s watchdog group United Against a Nuclear Iran eventually forced the Huntsman family to close its Iran operations in January 2010 to avoid “reputational risk.”

And finally: A joke told on the floor of the California state Assembly got out of hand last week when two lawmakers nearly came to blows after one quipped that the other’s budget proposal was something out of The Sopranos. After arguing whether the statement was offensive to Italian-Americans, the two men “stood face to face and appeared to be on the brink of a physical confrontation,” prompting other lawmakers and the sergeants-at-arms to physically intervene.

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