Morning Briefing: June 27, 2011

As the White House tries to revive negotiations to raise the nation’s debt limit today after the talks nearly collapsed last week, some Republicans see cuts to Pentagon spending as a potential area of compromise. Although the House GOP has long been resistant to the idea, they believe it is easier to build support around cutting defense spending than raising revenues through changing the tax code.

President Obama will take direct control on debt limit negotiations today in meetings with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and later Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). In a statement following the invite, McConnell said Obama must choose between tax increases or a bipartisan agreement because “he can’t have both.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) repeated her claims that supporters of raising the debt ceiling are using “scare tactics” when warning of potential economic calamity if the limit isn’t raised. Bachmann claimed the U.S. can “pay the interest on the debt first” to avoid default, an idea Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has said is “not workable.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will launch “NYC I Do,” a campaign to make the city a “gay-wedding destination” after New York passed marriage equality into law last Friday. New York Senate Independents and Democrats issued a report last month that estimated the state “would earn nearly $400 million over the next three years from gay and lesbian couples getting married.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) may be the nation’s least popular governor, but he has no intention of changing course, according to an interview with the Wall Street Journal. He remains unfazed by the criticism or polls that show most Floridians consider his draconian budget cuts and privatization of Medicaid “unfair” and a bridge “too far.”

A new poll conducted by The Hill finds that a plurality of American voters support plans by President Obama to start drawing down troops in Afghanistan, and nearly a third want a faster withdrawal. Overall, 69 percent of voters support Obama’s pace of withdrawal or want a faster one, and only 28 percent say it’s too quick.

Israel’s Government Press Office issued a letter yesterday telling foreign journalists that participating on an aid flotilla to Gaza is illegal under Israeli law. The letter sensationally claims that the flotilla “is a dangerous provocation that is being organized by western and Islamic extremist elements to aid Hamas.”

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Libyan leader Moammar Qadaffi, his son, and his intelligence chief for crimes against humanity. The charges, announced this morning at the Hague, stem from the early days of the country’s uprising in which Qadaffi is accused of killing, injuring, and imprisoning hundreds of civilians.

And finally: There’s trouble in paradise for Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Fox News after host Chris Wallace asked the presidential candidate yesterday if she’s a “flake.” Wallace later apologized, but in Iowa today, Bachmann refused to accept the Fox host’s apology, saying, “I think that it’s insulting to insinuate that a candidate for president is less than serious.”

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