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« A Tale Of Two Presidents For Democrats In The Midterms | Blog Home Page | Spinning a District »

Strategy Memo: Budget Votes Today

In London, the G-20 Summit is underway as President Obama and his counterparts abroad seek to reach some compromises on a global stimulus and greater international regulation of the financial industry. The president also continues his face-to-face meetings; he's already met with the president of South Korea this morning and will later sit down with leaders of Saudi Arabia and India. He'll end the day with a solo press conference.

Vice President Biden is heading up the shop in D.C. while Obama is overseas. He'll hold some meetings on the stimulus implementation and later address the National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner.

A slew of budget votes are expected in the House and Senate, while the House also completes consideration of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Reports yesterday afternoon found that the margin in NY-20 was down to 25 votes, and thousands of absentee ballots still are left to be counted.

**President Obama
*Obama met with South Korea's president this morning, with North Korea's missile launch looming. Both agreed on the need for a "stern, united" international response if a launch happens, AP reports.

*As the leaders sit down together today for the formal G-20 sessions, the New York Times says that "a rift intensified over Anglo-American calls for greater fiscal stimulus spending and French and German demands for more intrusive global regulation of financial institutions." President Sarkozy of France "did not repeat an earlier threat to walk out of the conference," but he " made it clear he would reject an agreement that puts off stringent new regulations on banks, tax havens, and hedge funds."

*As he still pushes for some increased spending elsewhere, Obama warned that the "voracious" U.S. economy can no longer be the sole engine of global growth, the Washington Post reports. "The statement signaled a recognition of a new economic era with a less dominant U.S. role. Although Obama said the United States should not miss 'an opportunity to lead' the way out of the crisis, he suggested he would not be the globe's financial decider. 'I came here to listen,' he said, 'not to lecture.'"

*USA Today looks at the U.S.-Russia meeting, saying that Presidents Obama and Medvedev "marked the beginning of a new chapter" in relations. "Their predecessors, George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin, met about 30 times and established a close relationship, but their terms ended with deep policy differences. The differences weren't papered over in Wednesday's meeting. Obama and Medvedev agreed to disagree on missile defense and last August's Russian-Georgian war." But they did suggest progress on Iran and weapons proliferation.

*How about the iPod?! Politico says Obama's gift to the Queen "brought a cringe from one top etiquette expert, who said it confirmed that Obama hasn't figured out presidential gift-giving. Or that they shouldn't all come from Best Buy -- Obama already took some grief for giving British Prime Minister Gordon Brown a boxed set of DVDs when he visited the White House."

*Chris Cillizza looks at the "rise, fall and rise" of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. "Geithner's emergence as an effective -- and high profile spokesman (he was on NBC's "Meet the Press" last weekend) -- comes just weeks after many observers including some Democrats believed he might need to step aside in the wake of his poor performance in selling the bank bailout bill and his failure to move quickly to stymie the furor over bonuses being given to AIG executives. Obama never wavered in his commitment to Geithner and the treasury secretary appears to be repaying that faith with his strong performance in the lead up to the G-20 meetings."

*Geithner sat down with CBS News's Katie Couric. Check out the video here.

**Congress
*Milbank: "'This is a bill which reflects the consensus of our conference,' Ryan announced. Oh? Within minutes of Ryan's news conference, word spread that the conservative Republican Study Committee, a group representing 111 of the 178 House Republicans, would be issuing a budget plan of its own today."

*After previously voting for a retroactive tax on bailed out company executives, Minority Whip Eric Cantor voted "present" yesterday on a new bill that would limit bonuses, The Hill reports.

*HHS nominee Kathleen Sebelius will be infront of the Senate Finance Committee today, with questions more likely to center on her policy positions than her $7,000 in unpaid taxes, AP reports.

*Rep. Carol Shea-Porter's (D-N.H.) Manchester office was evacuated yesterday afternoon after a constituent-sent envelope was discovered to contain a tea bag.

**Campaign Stuff
*NY-20 margin down to 25 votes. Or is it 13?

*Dems in '10: "Although he seemed to be bracing for possible double-digit losses by citing an average of a 30-seat drop for a president's party in the first term, [DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen] said he did not believe Republicans would relive the 1994 rout that tossed Democrats out of the majority," the NYT reports.

The WSJ's Davis has more on the Van Hollen briefing.

*CT Sen: Sen. Chris Dodd trails three potential Republican challengers in a new Quinnipiac poll, including ex-Rep. Rob Simmons, who leads Dodd by 16 points.

*CNN's Peter Hamby reports that Mitt Romney actually "praised President Obama at a GOP fundraising dinner Wednesday in front of a crowd that might have been expecting a heavy dose of rally-the-troops conservatism." "I also think it's important for us to nod to the president when he's right," Romney said. "He will not always be wrong, and he's done some things I agree with." Hamby notes that John McCain was not on hand for the NRSC event, even though he's one of the senators up in 2010.

*More Romney: He "said Wednesday that his party needs to take a fresh approach to government regulations in the wake of the economic crisis that has rattled the U.S. and world economies," The Hill reports.

*The Hotline has some details on a DGA Conference call yesterday, where political director Raymond Glendening expressed confidence in N.J. Gov. Jon Corzine's chances but "sought to downplay expectations" about the race in Virginia. He noted history, that "Although Virginia has been trending Democratic over the last two cycles, it is important to note that the party losing the White House has won Virginia the following year in every election since 1976."

**(Sort of) Sports Alert: One of us watched a group of lawmakers take on some of the faculty of Georgetown Law in a basketball game at Gonzaga High School last night. It wasn't pretty, though some of the Congressmen did show some skills as they blew a late lead, then rallied in the final minutes to win. Sens. John Thune and Bob Casey represented the upper chamber, with another dozen or so members of the House chipping in. Mervin Jones, son of the late Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, was the star of the game with a dunk and a lion's share of the points. "If I'm limping around tomorrow, you'll know why," a tired Casey said after the game.

--Kyle Trygstad and Mike Memoli