TPMDC Morning Roundup

Gates: Administration Is “Pretty Realistic” About Iran
Defense Sec. Robert Gates is on a trip to the Middle East, telling reporters that he’ll reassure America’s allies on outreach to Iran: “And I just think it’s important to reassure our friends and allies in the region that while we’re willing to reach out to the Iranians, as the president said, with an open hand, I think everybody in the administration, from the president on down, is pretty realistic and will be pretty tough-minded if we still encounter a closed fist.”

Obama’s Day Ahead
President Obama will be speaking at 11:05 a.m. ET from the Grand Foyer, delivering remarks on international tax reform, to close loopholes for overseas tax havens that encourage companies to ship jobs overseas. At 5:15 p.m. ET, he will speak at a Cinco de Mayo event in the East Room.Biden’s Day Ahead
Vice President Biden will attend the 11 a.m. ET kickoff event for the restoration of the Wilmington Train Station. At 1 p.m. ET, Biden and Interior Sec. Ken Salazar will hold an event at the University of Delaware, highlighting offshore wind power and clean energy. In the evening, he and Jill Biden will attend the Cinco de Mayo event at the White House.

GOP Turns To Former Bush Aides For Communications Advice
The Politico reports that the House GOP conference is bringing in three former Bush advisers — former Bush press secretary Dana Perino, former deputy press secretary Tony Fratto, and former Bush counselor Ed Gillespie — to give advice to House GOP press secretaries at this Friday’s annual workshop. “We are battle-tested,” said Perino.

NYT: Market, Budget-Hawks Concerned About Debt
The New York Times reports that the bond market and budget-hawks are beginning to show concern over the levels of debt that are being mounted up, with the interest rate on Treasury bills going up recently. “You’re just paying more and more interest and having to borrow more and more money to pay the interest,” said Charles S. Konigsberg, chief budget counsel for the Concord Coalition. “It diverts a tremendous amount of resources, of taxpayer dollars.”

Gingrich: Obama Endangering Israel
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich told the Jerusalem Post that President Obama is endangering Israel. “They are systematically setting up the most decisive confrontation that we’ve ever seen,” said Gingrich. He added: “There’s almost an eagerness to take on the Israeli government to make a point with the Arab world.”

Baucus Bill To Seek Changes In Cuba Policy
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) is set to introduce legislation to open up more agricultural trade with Cuba. The Hill points out would put him on a course for confrontation with pro-embargo Democrats like Sen. Bob Menendez (NJ) and Sen. Bill Nelson (FL).