It is, at last, “all stop” for the small fleet of space shuttles.
** QUICK HITS. Very mixed signals on federal budget deficit and debt ceiling impasse. Is President Obama close to a long-rumored deal with House Speaker John Boehner for big cuts and revenues? And where would the votes come for that in the House, between angry right-wingers and angry liberals? Or the Senate, which would be angry at being left out? Or is it more kabuki? … A former News of the World editor and its former chief legal counsel said today that News Corp scion James Murdoch misled a parliamentary committee this week when he claimed he had never known that phone hacking was carried out by more than one “rogue reporter.” They say they showed him evidence very much to the contrary. … Amidst the disarray in Washington, and bearing in mind a possible federal default that would roil financial markets, California Treasurer Bill Lockyer is going to the private markets to put together a $5 billion bridge loan for state government financing purposes. … Fascinating new information in the latest USC Dornsife/LA Times poll, which I’ll get into tomorrow morning, showing big support for the axing of redevelopment agencies in favor of basic services and for much greater leniency toward low-level, non-violent offenses.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … OVER AND OUT, ABOVE AND BEYOND: IS THE SPACE AGE OVER OR JUST GETTING STARTED?
** FORMER TOP ARNOLD AIDE MATT DAVID BECOMES HUNTSMAN FOR PRESIDENT CAMPAIGN MANAGER. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman is testing the theory that a modern moderate conservative can make real headway in the Republican presidential race. And though Barack Obama’s former ambassador to China is well-regarded, and has garnered good press notices starting out, he’s been slow to make headway in the race itself.
So today there was a change. Campaign manager Susie Wiles, who managed new Florida Governor Rick Scott’s campaign last year, is stepping away. She’s being replaced as campaign manager by campaign communications director Matt David.
In an e-mail, David told me he is “very excited about the opportunity.”
David, a lawyer and former college soccer star, is a very familiar figure in California. He was Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s gubernatorial communications director and deputy chief of staff for most of his second term, and ran the devastatingly effective rapid response operation in Schwarzenegger’s landslide 2006 re-election win over Democratic state Treasurer Phil Angelides.
In between those roles, David, who was recruited by former Schwarzenegger and John McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt, worked as deputy communications director for McCain. He got to know veteran McCain senior advisor John Weaver, who’s been shepherding Huntsman’s nascent candidacy from scratch as strategist.
With expectations lowered yet still promising, this is a real opportunity. We may see if a different kind of Republican can thrive in today’s hyper-partisan GOP. Huntsman’s early numbers remain low while other, far more conservative, real and prospective candidates take off.
But I’ve seen, and experienced, low numbers presidential candidates taking off when the actual voting comes around. We’ll see if Huntsman, whose candidacy has seemed to me to be an idea in search of a concept, can come up with a compelling rationale for his candidacy and the program to communicate it effectively.
** NEW POLL: PERRY AND GIULIANI SCORE ON INTENSITY RATINGS IN POTENTIAL REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL FIELD. As candidates continue to circle the Republican presidential race, Texas Governor Rick Perry and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani show very promising levels of support in a new Gallup Poll.
Giuliani, who seems less likely to run than Perry, is a bit of a surprise in this respect. He was the early frontrunner for the 2008 GOP nomination, but flamed out in the early contests, his seeming appeal to moderates and independents not translating in the Republican contests. John McCain easily scooped up that mantle, and scored as well with enough conservatives to win the nomination pretty early on.
In the Tea Party era of Republicanism, Giuliani seems out of step.
Perry does not. I’ve seen him deliver the right-wing red meat that activists love in person. His retracted call for secession by the Lone Star State wouldn’t help him at all in a general election, but has force with the hyper-partisan base.
Perry, incidentally, has his own moderate credentials. As a Texas governor, he’s walked a fine line on illegal immigration. In 2008, he was a big Giuliani booster. And in 1988, when he was a Democratic state legislator, Perry was a Texas state chairman of Al Gore’s first presidential campaign.
He certainly won’t be talking up the latter point. But should he run, and should Giuliani decide to back him, he could be very formidable in the Republican primaries.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani would enter as credible players in the 2012 GOP presidential race, should they decide to run. Perry is recognized by 55% of Republicans and has a Positive Intensity Score of 21, while Giuliani is recognized by 86% and has a Positive Intensity Score of 20. Both Positive Intensity Scores are among the highest of any candidate or potential candidate Gallup measures. …
Neither Perry nor Giuliani has made an official announcement about running for president, although both have indicated that they are seriously considering it. Perry, governor of Texas since 2000, told an Iowa newspaper that he felt “called” to run. Giuliani, who was the front-runner for the GOP nomination through much of 2007 before losing out to John McCain, has traveled frequently to New Hampshire in recent weeks.
Despite intense media speculation about his presidential plans, far fewer Republicans recognize Perry (55%) than recognize Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and Ron Paul. Perry, however, is already known by as many Republicans nationally as announced candidate Tim Pawlenty, and has higher name recognition than several other candidates who have been hard at work campaigning in recent weeks, including Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, and Jon Huntsman. …
Perry’s Positive Intensity Score of 21 ties Bachmann’s, and is slightly below Cain’s 25. Cain continues to generate the most enthusiasm of any candidate tested.
Despite the national exposure Giuliani received as mayor of New York during the difficult days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as well as during his 2008 GOP presidential bid, he falls short of having universal name ID among Republicans. His 86% recognition score is nine percentage points lower than that of Palin. Giuliani is, however, recognized by about as many Republicans as know Romney and Gingrich. Giuliani’s Positive Intensity Score of 20 puts him one point below Perry and Bachmann.
There has been little change in Gallup’s update for the two weeks ending July 17 in the positioning of the other potential GOP candidates Gallup measures. Palin’s and Romney’s Positive Intensity Scores are below those of Cain, Bachmann, Perry, and Giuliani, with Santorum’s and Pawlenty’s scores well below those. Huntsman’s position among Republicans has also not changed; he appears stuck with a relatively low recognition score of 41%, and his Positive Intensity Score of 2 is still among the lowest of any candidate or potential candidate tested.
Atlantis came in for the final landing of the 30-year space shuttle program this morning, just a minute past the scheduled 2:56 AM Pacific at the Kennedy Space Center.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have received the daily intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office.
Obama then met with senior advisors in the Oval Office.
At 9:30 AM Pacific, Obama and Biden meet for lunch in the Private Dining Room.
At 10:45 AM Pacific, Obama meets with Marine General James Cartwright, the outgoing vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the Oval Office.
Cartwright, by many accounts Obama’s favorite general, was passed over for the JCS chairmanship. Extensive opposition emerged after he advised Obama not to go heavy in Afghanistan. Lately he’s had controversial things to say about the Pentagon’s emerging cyberspace defense program, as well as the need for projected future fighter jets and and aircraft carriers. What does his future hold?
At 11:05 AM Pacific, Obama meets with former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, President of the National Urban League (NUL), and Ben Jealous, President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the Oval Office.
At 11:30 AM Pacific, Obama and Biden meet with Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner in the Oval Office.
We can guess what they will be talking about.
There doesn’t seem to be decisive support for any option in the present impasse on the federal budget deficit and debt ceiling.
The Tea Party Republicans had their moment in the sun with the House passage of draconian government-slashing legislation which goes nowhere after that. The Senate’s Gang of Six proposal sounds somewhat appealing in theory but wilts the more it is exposed to sunlight. Obama’s touted “Grand Bargain” approach was vetoed by the right but is still being discussed. And the Harry Reid/Mitch McConnell plan to make it easy for Obama to raise the debt ceiling and punt on the rest is viewed as too little to be respectable.
Now when did that ever stop Congress?
Here’s the fact: Some agreement needs to be reached to extend the debt ceiling — which has been a matter of routine for presidents of both parties for many years, until the advent of the far right Tea Party — by August 2nd. Though some say that far right Republicans will have to see a stock market crash for that to sink in.
For her part, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrapped up a major visit to India this week, a major element in the AfPak conundrum, and is traveling on to Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
India causes paranoia in Pakistan, which in turn leads to at least part of the AfPak miasma. Clinton worked with the Indians on keeping their nuclear program relatively under wraps.
Obama is also monitoring a variety of other geopolitical crises, mostly related to the Arab awakening, AfPak, and Iraq.
War Zone Times: Libya is nine hours ahead of Pacific time, Iraq and Yemen are ten hours ahead of Pacific time, and Afghanistan is eleven and a half hours ahead of Pacific time.
The Atlantis crew and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden spoke on the tarmac at the Kennedy Space Center after the final landing of the space shuttle. America will rely on Russia to carry its astronauts into orbit for the foreseeable future, though California’s SpaceX, about to take on the space shuttle resupply mission, and other firms say they will have private spacecraft to do the job in a few years.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Northern California.
He has no scheduled public events as of this morning.
Brown and First Lady/Special Counsel Anne Gust Brown are on a hiking trip in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Brown, as I wrote last week, has long loved the Sierra, having had many memorable trips to Yosemite National Park as a boy.
Yesterday Anne Gust Brown revealed publicly that they are in fact at Yosemite, tweeting a photo of the two of them in front of one of the famous falls.
While the Browns have been hiking, two famous Republican governors have been in his state. But they aren’t aiming at the new/renewed governor, they’re after Barack Obama’s office.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, widely expected to be readying to run for the Republican presidential nomination, met with fundraisers yesterday in LA and seemed to get a good response. If he jumps in the race, he gives far right activists, and those concerned about governance issues, a potential candidate to rally around.
And former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the putative Republican frontrunner, was in LA yesterday, too. He was on hand for fundraising, and for a brief media event at a half-century old shopping mall in the San Fernando Valley. Once vibrant during the JFK years, it’s now decidedly down at the heel. Which he ascribed to Obama.
** OBAMA KABUKI: THE BUDGET AND THE POLITICS OF POSITIONING. What’s President Barack Obama up to in the big federal budget deficit/debt ceiling debate? After months of letting Vice President Joe Biden carry the ball, Obama has placed himself center stage in the midst of controversy, even as agreement seems to get farther away.
What is he really after? To solve the multi-faceted problem? Well, sure, that would be nice. But what he is really after is what all first-term presidents are after. A second term.
Obama, in my opinion, is engaged in what former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called political “kabuki.” A stylized dramatic dance that draws attention while obscuring true purpose.
And what is his true purpose? To appeal to moderates by occupying the center and pushing the Republicans to the starboard side fringe. … From my July 13th column.
** WHY DID JERRY BROWN VETO THE FARM WORKER BILL? It seemed very counter-intuitive. But was it? …
Many were surprised by Brown’s veto, given his long history with the farm worker movement. Which is more extensive than has been widely reported. … From my July 8th feature.
** A SHIFTING REPUBLICAN PARTY MAKES MISCHIEF FOR OBAMA ON LIBYA. … From my July 2nd essay.
** JERRY BROWN FINDS A CALIFORNIA BUDGET THAT FLIES, FOR NOW. … From my June 29th feature.
** OBAMA’S BIG REPUBLICAN PROBLEM (IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK). …From my June 23rd column.
** JERRY BROWN’S BIG BUDGET VETO, AND WHERE IT GOES FROM HERE. … From my June 17th column.
** FROM GOVERNATOR TO MOONBEAM. … From my January 3rd, 2011 feature.
** OBAMA: RIDING WITH HISTORY. (NOTE: As Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, this column was the featured column on the top of the front page of the Huffington Post.) … From my January 19th, 2009 Huffington Post column.
The lights fade out on Mission Control in Houston, long the pulsing center of American spaceflight.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in three wars in the region, and the Arab awakening underway, it’s valuable to keep up with news and perspectives from the leading Middle Eastern-based TV news network. Based in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, Al Jazeera is very influential and more than a bit controversial. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer. The NWN live link to AJ does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the Russia Today channel. You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti. While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. With U.S. cable news chattering away as it does, this sort of respite can be informative. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Having crashed over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, 2008, crude oil is trading around $98 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $64 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity.
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