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Strategy Memo: Meet the Cyber Czar

Good Friday morning. Today, President Obama will announce a new "cyber czar," the product of an administration review of the security of Internet infrastructure. Obama will later meet with his National Economic Council, and then visit FEMA headquarters for a briefing on the hurricane season. All the while, NBC cameras will be following him around as the network films an "Inside The White House" special to air next week.

North of the border, former Presidents Clinton and Bush 43 come together for a paid speech at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on the global and domestic challenges facing the U.S. and Canada. It's closed to the media, however.

Congress remains out of session until next week, with the Senate returning Monday and the House on Tuesday.

**President Obama
*Gallup: "So far in May, Barack Obama has averaged 65% job approval. Since World War II, only three of the previous eight presidents elected to their first terms -- Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan -- have had a higher average approval rating in May of their first year. Obama's average exceeds those of the three most recent presidents -- George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush."

*On a Friday, The New York Times runs a trio of critical stories on Sotomayor. First, a look at questions being raised about her role with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Second, a look at her "blunt and even testy side" on the bench." More: "To detractors, Judge Sotomayor's sharp-tongued and occasionally combative manner -- some lawyers have described her as 'difficult' and 'nasty -- raises questions about her judicial temperament and willingness to listen. Her demeanor on the bench is an issue that conservatives opposed to her nomination see as a potential vulnerability -- and one that Mr. Obama carefully considered before selecting her."

And for good measures, they note she hasn't voted in New York elections in 2002 (when an African American led the Democratic ticket for governor) and 2006 (when Democrats won back the Senate), but did vote in the '08 presidential.

*A somewhat surprising defense of Sotomayor from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the head of the NRSC but a former state Supreme Court justice. "I think it's terrible," he said on NPR of allegations of racism from other Republicans. "This is not the kind of tone any of us want to set when it comes to performing our constitutional responsibilities of advise and consent."

On "Morning Joe," NBC's Chuck Todd said the only fight over Sotomayor so far is within the GOP.

*Despite winning an $8,000 jackpot at a Florida casino, the Los Angeles Times reports that Sotomayor's "net worth is probably on the low end within the federal judiciary."

*Mike writes about the traditional roles of the sherpa in the Supreme Court confirmation process.

*AP has details on today's "cyber czar" effort, coming six weeks after the White House completed a review of cyber threats. "Obama is expected to say that cyber security is a top priority of the administration and to call for a new education campaign to raise public awareness of the challenges and threats cyber security involves. ... According to officials familiar with the discussions, the cyber czar would be a special assistant to the president and would be supported by a new cyber directorate within the National Security Council."

*Meeting with Palestinian lead Mahmud Abbas, Obama "renewed pressure on Israel but rejected a timetable for his peace drive, noting domestic pressures heaped on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu," AFP reports.

*Former President Bush made his own case defending his administration's national security policies in Michigan on Thursday, saying all practices employed were cleared by White House lawyers. "I made a decision within the law to get information so I can say, I've done what it takes to do my duty to protect the American people," he said. "I can tell you, the information gained saved lives."

**Congress
*" 'Hardball' host Chris Matthews had a remarkable interview with Burris, the Illinois Democrat, and Burris only dug himself into a deeper hole as Matthews grilled him over the taped conversation," Politics Daily's Lynn Sweet writes. "Basically, Burris told Matthews that the stuff he said on the tape about raising money for Blagojevich at the same time he brought up the Senate job was just B.S."

*"Pat Roberts is the first Senate Republican to say he'll vote against Sonia Sotomayor. A conservative talk radio host dared the Kansas Republican to oppose the SCOTUS nominee -- and Roberts obliged this morning, citing his Semper Fi," Politico reports.

*In National Journal's bi-weekly Political Insiders Poll, 64% of GOP operatives say it would not be politically smart for Republicans to try to block the SCOTUS nomination of Sonia Sotomayor. A quarter said it would be.

*"All the talk of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill appears to be keeping moderate Republican Olympia Snowe in high demand among Senate Democrats. A NationalJournal.com analysis shows that as of May 13, no GOP senator had signed on to more legislation this session than Snowe, with 131 bills -- including 104 co-sponsorships, good for eighth overall in the Senate (Richard Durbin, D-Ill., was first with 136). Right behind was Snowe's fellow Maine moderate, Susan Collins..."

**Campaign Stuff
*Mitt Romney, who last we checked was not a member of the United States Senate, is not ruling out a filibuster on Sotomayor, The Hill reports. "I think the process that was applied during the Bush administration should be the same process applied during the Obama administration," Romney said. "I don't believe in the nuclear option on either side of the aisle."

*T-Paw in Huck country? Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) is going to headline the Arkansas GOP's Lincoln Day Dinner on June 26.

*Ralph Nader of all people weighs in on Terry McAuliffe, accusing the Virginia gubernatorial hopeful and former DNC chair of "orchestrating an effort to remove him from the presidential ballot in 2004. Nader tells the Washington Post that McAuliffe offered him an unspecified amount of money to campaign in 31 states if Nader would agree to pull his campaign in 19 battleground states."

*"Twenty four hours after his semi-announcement that he would take on Sen. Arlen Specter in next year's Democratic primary, Rep. Joe Sestak laid out his strategy for toppling the incumbent in a conversation with the Fix today."

*In an interview with the Plum Line, Sestak says not even White House pressure could lead him to quit the Senate race. "At the end of the day my responsibility is to [the people] here in Pennsylvania," he said.

*President Obama plays a role in the first campaign ad from Chris Dodd. "I want to give a special shout out to Chris Dodd, who has been a relentless fighter to get this done," Obama says in the 30-second spot, Politico reports.

*Rep. Roy Blunt, a Senate candidate in 2010, owes nearly $7,000 in back taxes on his Georgetown home, the Kansas City Star reports. It's a result of the DC government recalculating taxes because the Blunts had been assessed with a homestead exemption.

*The Detroit News has results of a poll on the 2010 gubernatorial race. Interestingly, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D), who has not expressed any interest in the race, is a favorite among primary voters. It's a close race on the Republican side, with Pete Hoekstra narrowly leading Mike Cox.

Some of the candidates already had their first forum, on Mackinac Island, of course.

*Kentucky Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo's campaign put out a poll showing him leading Attorney General Jack Conway 43-28 in the Democratic Senate primary. But Conway's camp called it "all spin," the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.

*A sneak peak? Gov. Charlie Crist (R-Fla.) and Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.), both front runners for Senate nominations in Florida, crossed paths in the Everglades yesterday, the St. Pete Times notes.

**Republicans
*Cornyn writes on RedState about the NRSC's endorsement of Crist in the GOP primary. The conservative blog had been critical of the move snubbing Marco Rubio's candidacy. "Some believe that we should be a monolithic Party; I disagree. While we all might wish for a Party comprised only of people who agree with us 100 percent of the time, this is a pipedream," he says. "There is no doubt both of these candidates have a bright future in the Republican Party. But with his record of leadership and astronomical approval ratings, including strong numbers among Republicans, Democrats and Independents, Charlie Crist represents the best chance for Republicans to hold this seat in Florida."

Kyle wrote about the contentious relationship in a column earlier this week.

**Sports Alert: LeBron James just took over in the 4th quarter last night, keeping the Cleveland Cavaliers from being eliminated. The series heads to Orlando tomorrow night, with the Magic ahead 3-2 in the series. The Lakers lead the Nuggets 3-2, with a chance to end the series tonight in Denver. Great, great playoffs.

--Kyle Trygstad and Mike Memoli