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In a sign that the Republican Party's right wing could now be attempting to walk back the over-the-top rhetoric that has been used against Sonia Sotomayor, Newt Gingrich has put up a new post on his Web site saying he shouldn't have called her a racist -- and then proceeds to go into detail about how she's a racist!

"The word 'racist' should not have been applied to Judge Sotomayor as a person," Gingrich says, "even if her words themselves are unacceptable (a fact which both President Obama and his Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, have since admitted)."

Then he goes into all sorts of details about the "wise Latina" comment, the intricacies of the New Haven firefighters case, and other objections he has to Sotomayor. At each juncture, he borrows a line from Fox News: "You Read, You Decide."

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Obama Visiting Muslim World; Bin Laden Puts Out New Message Against Him President Obama has arrived in Saudi Arabia for a multi-nation tour in the Arab world, most notably including a speech addressed to all Muslims tomorrow in Egypt. And just in time for Obama's arrival, Osama bin Laden has released a new recording, saying Obama was following in the steps of George W. Bush, and planting the seeds for "revenge and hatred."

Obama's Day: Saudi Arabia President Obama arrived this morning in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. At 8:10 a.m. ET, he attended a welcome reception with King Abdullah at the King's farm. At 9:20 a.m. ET, he will hold a bilateral meeting with King Abdullah.

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Did George W. Bush really summon his African-American secretary of state for a lesson on junior-high-level racial politics?

So reports Newsweek's Richard Wolffe in his new book on Obama, Renegade: The Making Of A President.

Bush found himself perplexed by the flap over Joe Biden describing Obama as "articulate and bright and clean" in January 2007. So, naturally, the president turned to the top U.S. diplomat, the trusted Condi Rice, to explain what the heck this was all about.

Here's the tidbit from the first chapter of Wolffe's book:

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President Obama disembarks Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base.

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Senior advisors Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod read the Quarterly Report of the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009 in the Oval Office.

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President Obama watches his daughter Sasha play soccer.

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President Obama at the Arizona State University commencement ceremony on May 13.

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President Obama talks with Dr. Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University, before giving the school's commencement address on May 13.

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President Obama chest-bumps a new graduate at the U.S. Naval Academy commencement ceremony on May 22.

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Personal aide Reggie Love fist-bumps a White House staffer.

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President Obama exchanges a handshake with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.

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President Obama and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) outside the Oval Office.

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President Obama and senior advisors talk in the Rose Garden.
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President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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Press secretary Robert Gibbs and senior advisor David Axelrod outside the Oval Office.

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The Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers fill care packages for distribution by the USO with President Obama and Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA).

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Katie Johnson, President Obama's personal secretary, collects documents in the Oval Office.

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President Barack Obama, receptionist Darienne Page, and Vice President Joe Biden outside the Oval Office.

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President Obama with press secretary Robert Gibbs.

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President Obama with Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY).

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President Obama walks with members of the Democratic House leadership.

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President Obama with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office.

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A Guantanamo detainee has died in what the military are calling an "apparent suicide" -- and civil liberties groups are calling for action.

Guards found 31-year-old Muhammad Ahmad Abdallah Salih, known as Al-Hanashi, unresponsive and not breathing in his cell Monday night, U.S. military officials announced, according to the AP.

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Earlier today we brought you a letter signed by conservative Manuel Miranda and dozens of other activists calling for Republicans to consider a filibuster of Sonia Sotomayor. On Hardball tonight, though, Manuel Miranda characterized things a bit differently.



A "great debate" (followed by a sixty vote requirement for confirmation. Cough.) Chris Matthews insisted that what Miranda and other Sotomayor critics really want is to slow her confirmation process down, but Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, said he'd speed the confirmation process up if the unfair attacks continue.

A new polling analysis from Gallup shows that as President Obama prepares to tour the Middle East, the Arab world now has significantly higher approval of the U.S. leadership than they did last year under George W. Bush -- though it's still far from being a thumbs-up.

In Egypt, the approval rating of the American leadership rating last year was only six percent, to 74% disapproval -- a number that has now gone up to 25%-52%. Saudi Arabia has gone from 12%-81% last to 29%-52% now; and Syria from 4%-91% to 15%-71%, among others.

It hasn't been all positive, though. In the Palestinian Territories -- which have seen a lot of political strife thanks to the recent war with Israel -- things have gone from 13%-81% to 7%-80%.

From the pollster's analysis: "Gallup Polls show that Obama will deliver his message Thursday with an arguably stronger basis of support than his predecessor ever had in many Arab countries. Nonetheless, approval remains low and underscores the work that remains as Obama seeks to pave a new, more positive way forward."

Did a failure of law enforcement help lead to the murder of Kansas doctor George Tiller?

Earlier today we told you about evidence that the FBI may have failed to follow up on a tip it got about Scott Roeder, who this afternoon was charged with Tiller's killing. CNN reported that, just a day before Tiller was slain, a worker at a Kansas abortion clinic had seen Roeder trying to tamper with the building's locks, and reported the incident to the Feds. He said he was told in response that the bureau couldn't do anything unless a grand jury was convened.

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On Tuesday, June 2, Sonia Sotomayor visited Capitol Hill and met with several Senators - pictured here with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

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So with the Minnesota Supreme Court having heard arguments yesterday in Norm Coleman's appeal of his defeat in the Senate election trial (check out our coverage here, here, here and here), what comes next?

I spoke today with Prof. Larry Jacobs of the University of Minnesota, and he predicts that the state Supreme Court will likely put out a ruling by the end of the month -- and that this ruling will be for Franken, based on their very sharp questioning of Coleman's lawyer yesterday. "I would take from that session that the judges may have already written a good part of their decision," said Jacobs, "because their thinking was very far along, and there were a number of them on the same page."

At that point, the outcome here really hinges on one man: Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who announced today that he is not running for a third term in 2010.

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