ThinkFast: April 11, 2008

This Sunday at 8 pm ET, CNN will broadcast The Compassion Forum. Sponsored by the Faith in Public Life, the presidential candidates forum will focus on “five key issues to folks of faith: domestic and international poverty, global AIDS, climate change, genocide in Darfur, and human rights and torture.” Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have both confirmed that they will participate. Sen. John McCain has thus far declined the invitation, which is still open.

In a hearing yesterday, Attorney General Mike Mukasey said the Fourth Amendment “applies across the board, regardless of whether we’re in wartime or in peacetime,” even though the memo by John Yoo, former head of the Office of Legal Counsel, had concluded otherwise. Mukasey, however, refused to say whether that memo was withdrawn.

A Justice Department Inspector General (IG) report “on the FBI’s role in the interrogations of prisoners in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Iraq has been delayed for months because the Pentagon is reviewing how much of it should remain classified.” IG Glenn Fine said that he has pushed the Pentagon to finish its review, but officials have not complied “in a timely fashion.”

“House Judiciary Committee lawyers declared that the White House and Congress are at a ‘constitutional impasse’ in a legal motion filed Thursday in federal court aimed at forcing former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten to testify before the panel.” In the motion, the lawyers compared the impasse “to President Nixon’s attempts to stonewall inquiries into the Watergate scandal.” Read the full motion here.

Two of Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) top advisers and fundraisers “are among several Republican and Democratic presidential campaign officials whose lobbying firms have been paid more than $15 million by foreign governments since 2005.” The firms of McCain advisers Charlie Black and Thomas G. Loeffler “received millions of dollars lobbying the White House, Congress and others as agents of nearly a dozen foreign clients.”

“I’ve told him he’ll have all the time he needs,” Bush said yesterday of Gen. David Petraeus, after endorsing the general’s “indefinite suspension” of troop withdrawals from Iraq this summer.

During a Senate Armed Forces hearing yesterday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates was forced to apologize to Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) for “confusion” over Iraqi reconstruction money. On Tuesday, Amb. Ryan Crocker told Levin that the United States was “no longer involved in the physical reconstruction business,” but on the same day, Levin received a letter from the Pentagon about “a coming shift of $600 million to pay for Iraqi reconstruction.”

“Americans’ confidence in the economy fell to a new low,” in the latest RBC Cash Index, “dragged down by worries about mounting job losses, record-high home foreclosures and zooming energy prices.” The new level was “the worst since the index began in 2002” and “marked the fourth month in a row where confidence has fallen to an all-time low.”

Yesterday, the Senate approved a housing relief bill that provides tax breaks and credits for home builders and buyers as well as “$150 million for counseling borrowers and $4 billion for local governments to buy foreclosed properties.” The White House is opposed to the bill while some Democrats said it does not go far enough.

And finally: A photograph of Vice President Cheney wearing sunglasses while fly-fishing in Idaho has caused a stir on the Internet, “fueled by speculation about what is being reflected in his sunglasses.” ABC News notes that within 48 hours, the picture had “been posted, linked, enlarged, enhanced on dozens of Web sites.” Guesses on the image in his lenses ranged from a naked alien, Osama bin Laden, and a “woman in her birthday suit.” Cheney’s spokeswoman, however, said the image is nothing more than an arm casting a reel. (See an enlarged version of the photo here.)

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.