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TPMDC Morning Roundup

Obama Stepping Back From Bush-Era Missile Defense Plan
The Obama administration is backing away from a Bush-era missile defense shield plan in Eastern Europe, which had been a bone of contention in relations with Russia. "Today, shortly after midnight, Barack Obama telephoned me to announce that his government is backing away from the intention of building a missile defense radar on Czech territory," Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer told reporters.

Obama Praises Sotomayor At Hispanic Caucus Gala
President Obama spoke last night at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute dinner, touting his appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. "As she lifted her right hand to take the oath, our nation took one step closer to fully realizing the founding ideals that the court itself was established to defend. And across America, millions of children's sights are now set higher; their dreams are a little bigger. That benefits all of us."

Poll: Americans Believe U.S. Still In Recession
A new CNN poll finds that 86% of Americans believe the United States is still in a recession, with only 13% saying that the economic downturn has ended. "Economists have typically called an end to recessions long before the public thinks hard times have passed," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The recession of the early 1990s was officially over by 1991, but a majority of Americans didn't think the recession was over until late in 1993."

Massachusetts House Could Pass Senate-Appointment Bill Today
The Massachusetts state House could pass today a bill to provide for a temporary appointment to fill Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, putting the bill closer to becoming law. Legislative leaders say they have narrow majorities in both chambers to pass the proposal, though it could potentially be delayed in the state Senate.

Dukakis: It's Important To Get Bill Passed
Meanwhile in Massachusetts, former Gov. Michael Dukakis has been declining to comment on his prospects, after being frequently mentioned in the press as a possible interim Senator. "I'm not commenting," Dukakis said. "Why not? 'cause I don't want to comment." He added: "I think it's important the bill get passed, fast; that's the important thing."

House Members Explain Crossover Votes On Wilson Resolution
The Hill has rounded up statements from the House members who crossed party lines on the vote to disapprove of Rep. Joe Wilson's (R-SC) outburst of "You lie!" at President Obama. Examples include Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who voted in favor of the resolution even though he believes Obama was lying: "No one should excuse Rep. Joe Wilson if they would be upset if a Democrat did the same thing to President Ronald Reagan." Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) explained his present vote: "I think it's bad precedent to put us in charge of deciding whether people act like jerks. I don't have time to monitor everyone's civility."