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Republican governors George Bush and John Engler of Michigan (L) meet with Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (2nd-L) and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-KS, (2nd R) on December 12, 1997 to discuss the GOP budget at the Capitol in DC.

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Gingrich answers reporters' questions on April 12, 1996 while holding a Carpet Python snake in the Herpetarium at the St. Louis Zoo.

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Gingrich tours the Forbidden City with his second wife, Marianne in Beijing on March 28, 1997.

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Gingrich and his third wife Callista attend the Republican National Convention on September 2, 2004 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

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Gingrich and former first lady Nancy Reagan greet former President Gerald Ford and former first lady Betty at a party for former President Ronald Reagan on his 85th birthday on February 6, 1996.

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Newt at the Republican National Convention in 2000.

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President Bill Clinton waves to supporters in the gallery of the House of Representatives as Vice President Al Gore and House Speaker Gingrich applaud prior to Clinton's fifth State of the Union address on February 4, 1997.

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President Obama meets in the Oval Office with Rev. Al Sharpton and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to discuss education reform May 7, 2009. At left is Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett.

White House/Pete Souza

Gingrich smiles during a visit to the US Capitol for the unveiling of his official portrait on November 15, 2000 in Washington, DC.

Newscom/AFP

Ads to run in Los Angeles and other California media markets starting Wednesday tie President Barack Obama to the recent decision by the state government to slash the wages of home health workers.

According to a source at the Service Employees International Union, the ad features Pauline Beck, an SEIU nurse who participated in a campaign event with Obama two years ago, and spoke at the Democratic National Convention, but who will now be affected by the cuts. Though the source had not seen a script of the ad (and therefore could not confirm whether, or to what extent, it implicates the administration for abandoning attempts to prevent the cuts) it's certainly meant to get Obama's attention as much as that of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and politicians in Sacramento.

Obama arrives in California for a fundraiser in L.A. on Wednesday--the same day the six-figure ad buy goes live. Earlier today, SEIU President Andy Stern announced the ads over Twitter. The organization is upset with Obama for withdrawing its threat to withhold health care-related stimulus funds from California if the state it goes through with its plans to cut home care workers' wages to $8 an hour.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.

Newscom/UPI

Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.

Newscom/UPI

Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

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President Obama with Maj. Gen. Richard J. Rowe, commanding general of Joint Force Headquarters, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.

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Veterans for Peace memorial for the 4,300 soldiers killed in Iraq. Santa Monica, California.

Newscom/UPI

Staff Sgt. Daniel Alfred helps 19-month-old Keegan Gregory at Arlington National Cemetery.

Newscom/UPI

U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. speaks at Chicago's Memorial Day ceremony.

Army.mil

Washington, DC.

Newscom/Zuma

Memorial Day observance in the Memorial Amphitheater of Arlington National Cemetery.

Newscom/AFP

President Obama at the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

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Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.

Newscom/UPI

Upstate New York.

cc:Elstad Ranch

Two members of Rolling Thunder display POW-MIA flags as they watch participants in the Memorial Day motorcycle remembrance ride in Washington, DC.

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Veterans for Peace memorial for the 4,300 soldiers killed in Iraq. Santa Monica, California.

Newscom/UPI

US Air Forces Thunderbird perform aerobatic flight above the Jones Beach in Long Island, New York, at the annual Memorial Day air show.

Newscom/PTS

A new CNN poll finds that Colin Powell has much higher national favorable ratings than his two main Republican antagonists, Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh -- but among Republican respondents only, it's a close one.

The numbers, among all Americans: Powell is viewed favorably by 70%, compared to only 37% for Cheney and 30% for Limbaugh.

But among Republicans only, it's 66% favorable for Cheney, 64% for Powell, and 62% for Limbaugh. So Powell still remains popular with Republicans. But so are Cheney and Limbaugh, too -- and it would make some intuitive sense that Powell's portion differs somewhat from Cheney's and Limbaugh's.

Said CNN analyst Bill Schneider: "Moderate Republicans fighting back against Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney. They're ready to rumble. And they've got a soldier to lead them."

The lawyer for a man convicted of a terror-related crime that was engineered by the same government informant at the center of the Newburgh Four case describes the informant an unscrupulous liar who, in both cases, preyed on the ignorance and lack of sophistication of his targets.

In an interview with TPMmuckraker, defense lawyer Terence Kindlon called Shahed Hussain a "treacherous, clever, completely ingenious dissembler," and "a real snake."

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The Obama administration's plans for Don't Ask, Don't Tell are pretty clear at this point. They will call on Congress to repeal the law...in some way...at some point in time. And not a day sooner.

Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he is working on an assessment of what -- if any -- impact overturning "don't ask, don't tell" policies would mean for the military and its culture. In the meantime, the Pentagon plans to follow the existing rules, which say gays and lesbians can serve in the military if they do not disclose their sexuality or engage in homosexual behavior.

"The president has made his strategic intent very clear, that it's his intent at some point in time to ask Congress to change this law," Mullen said. "I think it's important to also know that this is the law, this isn't a policy. And for the rules to change, a law has to be changed."
Got that?

Meanwhile, the Associated Press breathlessly headlines their article "Mullen: Military to comply if gay ban law changes". Good to know they're not considering mutiny.

Former U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin -- the former Bush campaign opposition researcher whose appointment was at the center of the U.S. Attorney controversy of 2007 -- is not running for Senate after all.

Griffin had been eyeing a possible Senate bid in his native Arkansas, against Democratic incumbent Blanche Lincoln. But as the Arkansas News reports, Griffin is choosing instead to focus on other priorities: He has a growing family, he's making his way up in the Army Reserve, and he's advising a bunch of political campaigns.

So that's one lingering piece of muck from the Bush years that we can probably lay to rest -- at least for the immediate future.

We wondered earlier, in reference to the Newburgh Four: is sending a government mole out to scrounge up a few dim-witted ex-cons who can be talked -- and perhaps bribed -- into getting involved in a fictitious bomb plot really the best way to use our limited terror-fighting resources?

The picture is still a long way from being clear, but a prominent counter-terrorism expert we spoke to confirms there are legitimate questions about the wisdom of the approach.

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If you read this site fairly regularly, you might be thinking that President Obama is having some issues with the Senate. And you'd be correct. Here's an abbreviated list of hurdles: Dawn Johnsen can't be confirmed to head the Office of Legal Counsel; health care reform may have to do without a public option--if it happens at all; and Obama's goal of shuttering the Guantanamo Bay detention center by early 2010 is suddenly imperiled by the common cousins of conservative demagoguery and Democratic sheepishness.

The examples are manifold. And the voices of opposition are united.

"No way I can vote for her," says a senator of Dawn Johnsen.

Seeking to protect health insurance companies, which would be hard pressed to compete with a government provider, one senator called the idea of a publicly run insurance option a "deal breaker."

And on Guantanamo, the voice of the opposition in the Senate can be summed up thusly: "I think they need to be kept elsewhere, wherever that is. I don't want to see them come on American soil."

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The White House has been pretty clear for weeks now that they want Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) to sail smoothly to re-election in 2010. But now, apparently, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is getting in on the act.

Word out of Washington, D.C., is that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the political wiseguys from the Obama administration plan on "visiting with" Pennsylvania Democrat Rep. Joe Sestak.

Their objective is clear: Get him off the stage and out of a primary race against incumbent (and now Democrat) Sen. Arlen Specter.
Sestak seems to have scaled back his attacks on Specter in the last week or two, and he suggested he approves of Specter's efforts to reach a compromise on the Employee Free Choice Act with the bill's sponsor Sen. Tom Harkin (R-IA). But he's also said he'd likely get into the race unless Specter came into line with the Democrats on a whole host of issues. Does this change his calculus?

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