TPMDC Morning Roundup

Report: Democrats Blindsided By Obama’s Mosque Comments
The New York Daily News reports: “Democrats complain they were blindsided when President Obama weighed in on the Ground Zero mosque and handed the GOP a new club to beat them with. Capitol Hill Democrats, including those facing tough races, were not told in advance before Obama’s Friday night speech defending Muslims’ rights to build a mosque in lower Manhattan. While Mayor Bloomberg knew ahead of time what Obama intended to say at the Ramadan dinner at the White House, New York Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand were kept in the dark, sources said. So was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who dramatically broke with Obama on the mosque Monday.”

Obama’s Day Ahead
President Obama will depart from Los Angeles at 12 p.m. ET, arriving at Seattle King County International Airport at 2:15 p.m. ET. He will hold a round table discussion with small business owners at 2:40 p.m. ET, and deliver a statement to the press at 3:20 p.m. ET. He will deliver remarks at a fundraiser for Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) at 3:45 p.m. ET, and will speak at another fundraiser at 5:35 p.m. ET. He will depart from Seattle at 6:35 p.m. ET, and will arrive in Columbus, Ohio, at 10:20 p.m. ET.Biden’s Day Ahead
Vice President will meet in the morning with senior advisers at the White House. He will have lunch at 12 p.m. ET with Elie Wiesel. At 1 p.m. ET, he will meet with AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka. He will meet at 2:15 p.m. ET with newly sworn-in U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey.

Obama Walks Against Traffic On Mosque Remarks
The Washington Post reports on the political fallout from President Obama’s remarks in favor of the right of a Muslim group to build a community center near Ground Zero in New York: “One Republican consultant said flatly right after the remarks, ‘He is right on principle, but he will get slaughtered on the politics.’ ‘It’s almost like they’ve decided to throw in the towel’ on the midterm elections, said the consultant, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ‘If the power to decide this was his alone, I could understand this, but it is not. He chose to walk into this from the sidelines, which seems to me a foolish waste of political capital on a local issue. A curious mix of ego and self-aggrandizement, albeit for the right cause.'”

Next Possible Defense Secretary: Hillary Rodham Clinton?
The Hill reports: “Speculation in the nation’s capital on who will replace Robert Gates at the Pentagon has centered on an intriguing possibility: Hillary Rodham Clinton…Clinton may seem an unlikely choice to head the Pentagon, but she has won praise for her performance at State and forged a strong relationship with Gates. Many supporters argue she has the most credibility with the military of any Democrat and would be a logical choice to take Gates’ place at the Pentagon.”

U.S. Is Toughening Scrutiny Of Deepwater Drilling
The Associated Press reports: “The government said Monday it is toughening environmental reviews for all new deepwater oil drilling, ending an easy path to oil riches that allowed BP to drill its blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico with little federal scrutiny. The step is meant to help redress a history of lax oversight leading up to the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers and led to the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Some 206 million gallons spilled into the Gulf before BP stopped the leak at the Macondo well.”

U.S. Said To Plan Easing Rules For Travel To Cuba
The New York Times reports: “The Obama administration is planning to expand opportunities for Americans to travel to Cuba, the latest step aimed at encouraging more contact between people in both countries, while leaving intact the decades-old embargo against the island’s Communist government, according to Congressional and administration officials. The officials, who asked not to be identified because they had not been authorized to discuss the policy before it was announced, said it was meant to loosen restrictions on academic, religious and cultural groups that were adopted under President George W. Bush, and return to the ‘people to people’ policies followed under President Bill Clinton.”