ThinkFast: June 12, 2009

The Obama administration has “all but abandoned plans to allow Guantanamo Bay detainees who have been cleared for release to live in the United States.” Though an administration official told the Washington Post that “there may yet be ‘a few’ candidates for settlement in the United States among the dozens of Guantanamo detainees who have been cleared for release.”

The Defense Intelligence Agency reportedly advised against transferring 25 of the 60 Guantanamo Bay detainees deemed eligible for relocation by the Obama administration. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) claimed that DIA’s concerns show that the White House put political considerations ahead of national security.

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Former President Bill Clinton believes that President Obama “has a better chance than he did” to enact health care reform. “He’s got a better Congress, a more receptive climate” and “a better — at least more politically saleable — set of proposals,” said Clinton. “I hope they won’t give up on this public option.”

Health care lobbyists are spending increasing amounts to defeat President Obama’s health care plan. “The five largest private insurers and the trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans spent a total of $6.4 million in the first quarter, an increase of more than $1 million from the same quarter last year.”

As Iranians registered an “unprecedented” turnout in today’s elections, some “believe that the unruly democratic energies unleashed over the past few weeks could affect this country’s politics no matter who wins.” Some Iranians believe that Ayatollah Khamenei “may force Mr. Ahmadinejad to steer a more moderate course if he is re-elected.”

President Obama intervened to save the $105.9 billion war spending bill late last night after a conference committee stalled over the potential release of detainee abuse photos. In a letter to the chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, Obama promised “to take every legal administrative remedy available to me to ensure the DoD detainee photographs are not released.”

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The Senate voted yesterday to allow the FDA to “impose potentially strict new controls on the making and marketing” of tobacco products. Not surprisingly, among the 17 senators who voted against the bill are the “top recipients of campaign contributions from the tobacco industry,” including Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has raked in $419,025.

Although 55 percent of the American public say they don’t yet know enough about Sonia Sotomayor to have an opinion of her, 54 percent believe the Senate should approve her nomination as Supreme Court justice, according to a new McClatchy-Ipsos poll. Furthermore, a plurality say “they’d feel less favorably toward the Republican Party if Senate Republicans ‘overwhelmingly oppose’ Sotomayor.”

Paul Krugman writes today that, “[R]ight-wing extremism is being systematically fed by the conservative media and political establishment.” He argues, “Fox News and the RNC…have gone out of their way to provide a platform for conspiracy theories and apocalyptic rhetoric, just as they did the last time a Democrat held the White House.”

And finally: At yesterday’s town hall meeting in Wisconsin, John Corpus stood to ask President Obama a question about health care. However, he also informed Obama that his daughter, Kennedy, was skipping school to be at the event and hopefully wouldn’t get in trouble. “Do you need me to write a note?” Obama said. His note read: “To Kennedy’s teacher: Please excuse Kennedy’s absence. She’s with me. Barack Obama.” Kennedy said that it “was like the best thing ever.”

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