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TPMDC Morning Roundup

Gates: 'The United States Does Not Covet A Single Inch Of Pakistani Soil'
Speaking to officers at Pakistan's National Defense University, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates sought to assuage doubts about the American presence in the region. "I fully understand why some of you may be skeptical about the U.S. commitment to Pakistan," said Gates, also adding: "The United States does not covet a single inch of Pakistani soil."

Baucus: 'We're Going To Pass Health Care Reform"
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) predicted that health care reform will still pass. "We're going to pass health care reform. There are lots of options, and we're just talking about the pros and cons," said Baucus, who also added that "it might take a day or two" to figure out how to do it.

Obama Bank Plan Wins Backing From Europe
President Obama's plan to put new restrictions on banks' sizes and trading activities has picked up support from Europe, including the region's conservatives. "They see that regulation, which was a taboo word that was difficult to use in financial circles in the United States, is vital to contain ... banking excesses," said French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde.

Harkin To Push Filibuster Reform -- Faces Uphill Battle
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), a long time opponent of the filibuster is set to introduce a proposal soon to eliminate the power of the Senate minority to block legislation, noting that the frequency of filibusters has risen from once per Congress in the 1950's to 139 in the last one. However, Baucus will have a lot of problems trying to remove the 60-vote threshold -- it takes 67 votes to change the Senate rules.

Leno To Headline White House Correspondents Dinner
Jay Leno will headline the upcoming White House Correspondents Dinner. The decision was made before the recent controversies involving Leno getting The Tonight Show back, and Conan O'Brien leaving NBC, according to the White House Correspondents Association.