The Night Beat: Obama Kicks Ass. But Whose Ass?

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1. "Whose ass to kick." The phrase that will resonate tomorrow. President Obama said it during an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer re. his consultations with smart people about the oil spill, and what he hoped to learn from them. Not just an "academic exercise," he says, replying to critics who claim that he's relying too much on smart people. Watch TODAY for context. ... Obama's approval rating on his handling of the oil spill is 40%, according to Gallup. ... The Huffington Post reports that the administration favors an unlimited liability cap for BP.

2. The most important race, in terms of the potential to affect the control of the Senate, is Nevada's Republican primary. So your analyses should start with that race. If Sharron Angle wins, Harry Reid has a chance to keep his seat.

In Arkansas tomorrow, Democrats expect Lt. Gov. Bill Halter to hand incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln her walking papers. Halter's latest internal polling has him up by four points. Lincoln last polled ten days ago; she saved her money for a barrage of last minute television ads. ... What else to watch for tomorrow: the rise of Republican women who are not from the Northeast. ... Amy Walter, on Hardball, noted that she'd rather be Carly Fiorina, and get to run against Washington, than Meg Whitman, and get to run against Jerry Brown, who ain't exactly an emissary of the establishment. ... Does Rep. Bob Inglis survive to a run-off? ... How quickly Arkansas counts its votes (usually slowly) ...  Does any candidate get to 35% in Iowa's 3rd CD GOP primary? If not, there's a convention to choose the nominee.

The one potential sleeper race is Jane Harman's CA 36 primary, where, once again, she faces upstart Marcy Wynograd, who's running on a "jobs, not war" platform. But Wynograd's own internals had her down 13 points as of last week. And Orly Taitz, the original birther, may be the GOP nominee for Secretary of State in CA.

3. Who's the next
Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence? (The P-DDNI?) Nominee for Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, really wants Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn, currently Gen. Stanley McChrystal's chief intelligence officer. Flynn is the guy who devised the type of kinetic, tactical-intelligence based warfare that McChrystal became known for at the Joint Special Operations Command. Flynn has no patience for the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA has no love for Flynn. This one will be interesting.

4.There's very little detail on the 12 Americans held in Yemeni custody. ... Reports that the U.S. government is ready to repatriate a large number of Yemeni detainees are incorrect. President Obama suspended such repatriation after the Christmas Day bombing attempt. Twenty-eight Yemenis are cleared for repatriation, but they're in legal limbo. (The government recently lost a habeas corpus case involving a Yemeni detainee, which means that he must be released in short order by the government. This will force the administration to chose between a number of difficult options.

5. If you want to understand President Obama's National Security Strategy, attend this event:


Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero; Dr. John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; General James Jones, National Security Advisor; Dr. Harold Varmus, Co-chair, President's Council of Advisors on Science & Technology; and Representative Rush Holt (D-N.J.) will speak at an event entitled, "Celebrating New Science Partnerships with the Muslim World" on June 8 at 9:30 a.m. at the National Academies of Science's Keck Center. This event will also feature the three U.S. Science Envoys--Dr. Bruce Alberts, Dr. Elias Zerhouni, and Dr. Ahmed Zewail--for the first time in a joint setting. The event is open to the press and will be audio-cast live at: www.ostp.gov.

6. Newsweek's Mike Isikoff is now NBC News's chief investigative correspondent. ... Via Spencer Ackerman, the National Security Agency is looking for a general counsel. Josh Rogin reports that Russia's President Medvedev will visit Washington. ... A two-star South Korean Army general is being investigated for leaking a joint U.S.-South Korea battle plan to the North Koreans. And the Pentagon does not want the name of the Navy changed to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

7. Grindr at the White House, and a spoof of those reporters who find it remarkable that Grindr is an app used by some iPhone users at the White House.
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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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