The Night Beat: Palin's New Book; Dead Heat in PA; NOAA Stirring the Pot?

With 20 percent of the vote reporting, State Sen. Steve Oliverio (D) leads incumbent Al Mollohan in the WV primary.

Tomorrow at 11:15 AM ET; two parents who tolerate each other and cannot divorce, for the sake of the children, will put on a brave face at the White House.

November 23, 2010, right as the presidential race transitions to full impulse, Sarah Palin's second book in as many years, America By Heart, is released.  Echoes of another candidate's nicely-timed book tour, after which he was drafted by his party to run for President. ... Getting buzz at the RNC members meeting today was Sen. John Thune, for his speech entitled "America." ... Three calendar changes were presented to the RNC today: the start day moved to March, the exceptions for IA, NH and SC or NV, and proportionality for states that go before April 1. ... The RNC is expected to select Tampa as the site for the 2012 RNC convention tomorrow.

Questions about Elena Kagan's liberalism, Citizens United jurisprudence and sexuality dominate the blogosphere. GOP talking point is her lack of judicial experience. On CU, WSJ has a story tomorrow walking experts through her thinking, with White House officials attempting to refuting the implied claim that Kagan's disagreement with Obama hurt the case. On her sexuality, all someone has to do is ask Gibbs (his answer will be: no, she is not gay.) On her liberalism, the White House finds the debate irrelevant (of course she is, they think). ... Kagan sees 8 senators on the Hill tomorrow.

The AP's Dan Wagner overhears in the Senate subway car: "BP spill is the oil industry's Chernobyl, unidentified lobbyist says to Sen Kay Hagan."

A knowledgeable observer:  "There is increasing concern that NOAA is not being a team-player re: Gulf spill communications. For instance, there is a sneaking suspicion that they have leaked a number of stories that were ultimately a headache for other government agencies and the coordinated response overall. This situation can't be helped by a self-described senior NOAA staffer (wearing the NOAA pin) on the New Orleans-DCA plane today who talked loudly to a reporter for the entire flight. I mean loudly. The NOAA staffer stated several times, "I could totally get fired for this." Loudly. And usually prompting fellow passengers to turn around and look. Might want to pick a quieter and more private place to leak next time."   ...  Public support for offshore drilling falls 16 percent since the spill, says CBS News.

A bit of (vital) esoterica. In the midst of the European financial crisis precipitated by Greece, a white knight emerged. Think Saladin not King Richard. Turkey is bailing out Greece. What Turkey will want in return is easy: full EU membership with its visa-free travel. They will probably get it.

Implications? The EU borders will touch Iran, Iraq & Syria. Make it into Turkey and you've made it to London. Millions of Muslims traveling visa-free throughout Europe. An Islamist voice at the EU table, and Erdogan and the AKP are 100% Islamist - and loud about it. (This isn't really a fair thing to say. They are non-secular, certainly, and Islamist in character, but not Islamist in the way that the Taliban is Islamist.)

Quinnipiac and Franklin & Marshall out with PA SEN polls tomorrow. One shows Specter up two, the other shows Sestak up two.

Republicans plan to seize on the new CBO letter suggesting that health reform will cost $115 billion more than before. $120b - $115b = $5b remaining for "not one dime" -- Obama's veto baseline. Combined with that the actuary's report about the cost curve, news of rising premiums and anecdotes of doctors closing shop, and it would look like GOP predictions of doom are coming true. ... Mirror world: The actuarial report showed that health reform will produce more "health" per buck; implementation is being sped up; insurers are voluntarily adopting better practices ahead of the law; yes, Congress can authorize funding that exceeds the limits proscribed in the bill, but it does not have to spent the money, and Obama plans to adhere to his threat to veto discretionary spending, says OMB's Kenneth Baer.

Republican efforts to defund Fannie and Freddie failed. Tomorrow, a vote on the Whitehouse-Sanders "Reverse Marquette" amendment -- which would once again allow states to regulate credit card interest rates -- will be unveiled and voted upon, most likely.

Sens. Kerry and Lieberman release the American Power Act tomorrow. Without GOP support, it cannot go anywhere.

Redstate's Erick Erickson is profiled in the New York Times. Frank Luntz focus groups that "This is Alabama. We Speak English" ad.

Jeb Bush is going to be the keynote speaker at the NY State GOP annual dinner in NYC on June 2nd

Two hats! The Senate finally confirms NSA director / Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander as chief of U.S. Cyber Command. ... Are you friends with Howard Schmidt, the NSA senior director of cyber, on Facebook?

After receiving a classified briefing, Republicans seem to be less than convinced of a link between Faisal Shahzad to the Pakistani Taliban. Democrats seem to have heard quite convincing evidence. Inside the room: it was emphasized to the senators that NO SIGINT whatsoever was picked up indicating a plot, nor has any been analyzed since.

Remember that silly "we speak English" ad in Alabama? Frank Luntz focus groups it.

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