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House Republicans, facing tough questions in their districts for voting to phase out Medicare and replace it with a subsidized private insurance system, are fond of pointing out that the plan they support wouldn't touch benefits for existing beneficiaries, or for people who will reach eligibility within 10 years. There are a number of problems with that plan, but top Democrats are finally pointing out the biggest one: it's simply not true.

Though many Republicans are getting jittery about their budget's Medicare plan, they're still perfectly proud of the fact that it also repeals the new health care law. But that law includes plenty of goodies for current seniors, all of which would be zapped immediately if Republicans get their way.

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President Obama attempted to reset relations with the Arab world Thursday in a comprehensive speech that positioned the United States and its values squarely behind the democratic uprisings sweeping the Middle East and North Africa and promised aid to help promote economic growth and stability across the region.

"Across the region, those rights that we take for granted are being claimed with joy by those who are prying loose the grip of an iron fist," Obama said during a 45-minute speech at the State Department.

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Newt Gingrich is seeking to recover from his terrible, no good, very bad week with an upcoming Web video featuring Iowa supporters countering the media who say that he is already doomed -- recruited for the vid by none other than Newt himself.

The Des Moines Register reports on Gingrich asking supporters at an event today to appear in the video:

"Any of you who are willing to do just a brief video with him (an Iowa campaign staffer) of why you're for me it would be very helpful 'cause we have to sort of convince the Washington news media that actually the voters will decide when this election is over, not five or six pundits," Gingrich said.

He continued: "We have a lot of people who would like to see this campaign go all the way to next year and actually talk about ideas that are sometimes confusing and actually talk about solutions."


The site of the event where Gingrich and his supporters are taping this video in order to face down the Washington news media: Waterloo, Iowa.

The White House has released the text of President Obama's Middle East speech, as prepared for delivery. Here's the full text:

I want to thank Hillary Clinton, who has traveled so much these last six months that she is approaching a new landmark - one million frequent flyer miles. I count on Hillary every day, and I believe that she will go down as of the finest Secretaries of State in our nation's history.

The State Department is a fitting venue to mark a new chapter in American diplomacy. For six months, we have witnessed an extraordinary change take place in the Middle East and North Africa. Square by square; town by town; country by country; the people have risen up to demand their basic human rights. Two leaders have stepped aside. More may follow. And though these countries may be a great distance from our shores, we know that our own future is bound to this region by the forces of economics and security; history and faith.

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1||The Mississippi River crested at 57.1 feet in Vicksburg, Miss. Wednesday night, ahead of its original forecast, CNN reports, and high water levels are expected to hold for days. The river is 14 feet above flood stage in Vicksburg -- more than a foot above the record set in the great flood of 1927. Here are more pictures of Mississippi flooding.

Homes are nearly submerged in the Kingsway Green mobile home park in Memphis, Tenn.||newscom/Zuma Press&&

2||May 14, 2011: For the first time since 1973, the Army Corps of Engineers began opening the Morganza Spillway in Louisiana to lower water levels and to protect New Orleans and Baton Rouge.||newscom/Zuma Press&&

3||||newscom/Zuma Press&&

4||Memphis, Tenn.||newscom/DAN ANDERSON/EFE&&

5||Vicksburg, Miss.||newscom/Zuma Press&&

6||Vicksburg, Miss.||newscom/Eli Baylis UPI Newspictures&&

7||Chris Vaughn of Jonesboro, Ark. watches the sun set over the Mississippi from a half swamped bench at Jefferson Davis Park in Memphis, Tenn.||newscom/Zuma Press&&

8||Vicksburg, Miss.||newscom/Eli Baylis UPI Newspictures&&

9||The historic Yazoo Valley Railroad Station in downtown Vicksburg, Miss.||newscom/Zuma Press&&

10||Freight shipping continues on the Mississippi in New Orleans.||newscom/VARLEY/SIPA/VARLEY/SIPA&&

11||||newscom/Zuma Press&&

12||Vicksburg, Miss.||newscom/Zuma Press&&

13||Vicksburg, Miss.||newscom/Zuma Press&&

14||Vicksburg, Miss.||newscom/Zuma Press&&

15||Vicksburg, Miss.||newscom/Zuma Press&&

16||Vicksburg, Miss.||newscom/Zuma Press&&

17||Employees of Ergon Marine and Industrial Supply in Clarksdale, Miss. work to sandbag their property against the impending flood.||newscom/Zuma Press&&

18||||newscom/Zuma Press&&

19||Blake Hynum steers his boat past his cousin's inundated home in Vicksburg, Miss.||newscom/Eli Baylis UPI Newspictures&&

20||A water pump in City Front Park pumps leaking water from the flood wall back into the Yazoo Diversion Canal in downtown Vicksburg, Miss.||newscom/UPI Newspictures&&

21||Vicksburg, Miss.||newscom/ZUMA Press&&

As Newt Gingrich prepared his run for president, his main political action committee dramatically scaled back its fundraising activity. American Solutions PAC took in only $1,040 in the month of April -- an average of just $34.66 per day.

"The $1,040 raised in April was money that trickled in late from one mail piece we sent out at the beginning of the year," Dan Kotman of American Solutions told TPM in an email.

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