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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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South Carolina State Sen. Michael Fair (R) doesn't quite seem to know what his proposed sharia ban bill has to do with terrorism, but he does know that "ninety nine percent probably, of the acts of terrorism around the world" have "occurred at the hands of Middle Eastern men who happen to be advocates of the Islam religion."

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Amidst Newt Gingrich's attempts at damage control over his criticism of Paul Ryan's Medicare privatization proposal, and his own past support for the individual health insurance mandate, Newt Gingrich took another step -- not only publicly signing a pledge in Iowa to repeal President Obama's health care reform law, but publishing a column in the right-wing Human Events on Wednesday, entitled, "I Signed the Pledge To Repeal Obamacare, Have You?"

The column begins:

Yesterday [Tuesday] in Mason City, Iowa, I signed the Obamacare Repeal Pledge, sponsored by the Independent Women's Voice and American Majority Action.

Obamacare is such a massive and complex power grab of a law that there are countless specific reasons to oppose the law.


The column declares the first of the many reasons to repeal the law: "It's unconstitutional. Period," and argues vigorously against the individual mandate, calling it "an assault on our country's founding principles of limited, clearly delineated federal powers and an erosion of the rule of law." Totally unmentioned in the column, of course, is that Gingrich himself advocated for an individual mandate, going back to 1993 and even just until a few years ago (and last weekend, too).

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Now that he's no longer a member of President Obama's administration, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) is free to campaign for president. And campaign he shall, starting today in New Hampshire.

Early signs of how Hunstman plans to win the nomination as a man best known in Republican circles as a moderate and best known in Democratic circles as Obama's ambassador to China point to Huntsman picking up where John McCain left off.

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