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« Biden Speaks, Markets Move? | Blog Home Page | DNC TV Ad Slams McConnell »

Strategy Memo: Call Me Senator

In Russia, President Obama has already had a breakfast meeting with Vladimir Putin, and a session with former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. He also spoke at the New Economic School graduation. Left on the schedule is a second meeting with President Medvedev. Later, he'll meet with Russian opposition leaders at his hotel.

Back in Washington, Vice President Biden will swear in Al Franken (D-Minn.) just after noon as the final senator to be seated in the 111th Congress. He will then return to the White House to deliver remarks about food safety with Secretary Sebelius.

The House returns today from July 4 recess, with votes not expected until 6:30 p.m. The Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee examines the fairness of college football's Bowl Championship Series at a 2:30 p.m. hearing, and the full Senate will begin consideration of the Homeland Security Appropriations bill.

Not only did all of the networks interview Obama in Russia, but they also sat down with Gov. Sarah Palin in Alaska yesterday. Her interview with Fox will be airing at 9 am. They're also all expected to cover Michael Jackson's memorial service at the Staples Center in L.A. at 1 p.m.

**President Obama
*In a speech today on U.S.-Russian relations, Obama said that " wants a strong, peaceful and prosperous Russia." Earlier, Prime Minister Putin had told the president: "With you, we link our hopes for the furtherance of relations between our two countries."

*The Caucus: "When he granted separate interviews in Moscow to each of the five major American television networks on Tuesday morning, what was the one thing all five made sure to ask about? The death of the pop star Michael Jackson."

*In his interview with NBC's Chuck Todd, Obama walked back Biden's statement that the administration "misread" the economy.

*Politico has the details on Biden's health care announcement today: three major hospital associations have agreed to provide as much as $160 billion in savings to pay for a health care overhaul.

*In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Rahm Emanuel said it is more important that health-care legislation inject stiff competition among insurance plans than it is for Congress to create a pure government-run option. "Emanuel said one of several ways to meet President Barack Obama's goals is a mechanism under which a public plan is introduced only if the marketplace fails to provide sufficient competition on its own. He noted that congressional Republicans crafted a similar trigger mechanism when they created a prescription-drug benefit for Medicare in 2003."

**Congress
*Roll Call's Paul Singer has another piece on the Murtha earmark machine: "For the past several years, Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) has funneled more than $3 million in earmarks to a company in his district to build an underwater "swimmer detection" sonar system for the Navy to use to protect its docks and ships. But the company, KDH Defense Systems, sews bulletproof vests."

*"Half a dozen members of the Senate Democratic Conference pose the biggest threat to President Obama's agenda, giving Senate Republicans a fighting chance to block the administration's major expansions of government. GOP leaders have begun reaching out to these centrists, hoping they will buck their party on Obama's two biggest initiatives: healthcare reform and climate change legislation," The Hill reports.

*"President Obama's climate-change legislation begins a daunting march through the Senate this week, with supporters acknowledging they are as many as 15 votes shy of victory and well aware that deals to attract more votes could erode the bill's environment-friendly objectives," Washington Post reports.

*Politics Daily's Jill Lawrence looks at why Speaker Nancy Pelosi is disliked. "She's a tough, well-organized manager with a stable family life and a record of delivering for her popular president. She could emerge in time as one of the greats. But history isn't judging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi right now. Americans are, and lots of them don't like her."

*WSJ takes on the Senate Judiciary subcommittee's BCS hearings today.

**Palin
*Just like the president, Sarah Palin granted interviews to most of the TV networks, as well as the Anchorage Daily News. Asked if she'll run for president, she "squinted and shook her head, but then indicated she might." Palin: "I can't predict the next fish run much less what's going to happen in a few years. I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm going to keep working hard for Alaska, I'm going to be there for Sean Parnell when he needs me and if the staff and lawmakers, certainly any member of the public needs me, I'm going to do all I can for this state."

*"I am not a quitter. I am a fighter," Palin told CNN, one of several interviews she conducted yesterday.

*ABC got records of Palin's calls from the governor's office and found that in the weeks before she announced her resignation, "she spoke privately with a range of prominent Republican officials - including former Vice President Dick Cheney and former mayor Rudolph Giuliani."

*Today, Palin will turn up in the village of Kotzebue for a bill signing; Kotzebue "is a town of about 3,000 people that is 550 miles northwest of Anchorage and lies on a spit of sand at the end of a peninsula," AP reports.

*CNN's Hamby checked with both 2009 gubernatorial Republican campaigns and found that neither seemed in a rush to bring Sarah Palin to stump.

**Sanford Censured: The State reports, "After nearly four hours of discussion Monday evening, leaders of the South Carolina Republican Party voted to censure Gov. Mark Sanford, reprimanding him for secretly leaving the state to visit his lover in Argentina." S.C. GOP chairman Karen Floyd: "Today has brought a large measure of resolution to a sad chapter in our state party's history. Republicans came together to speak with a unified voice, and now is the time for healing.

**Campaign Stuff
*The Democratic Governors Association announced this morning that it has broken its fundraising record for the first two quarters of the year, bringing in $11.6 million in the first six months of 2009. Its record had been $11.2 million.

*FL Sen: "The only major Democrat seeking the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., Meek said he took in about $1.2 million in contributions during the just-concluded quarter 'on top of about $1.5 million in the previous period,' " Ft. Myers News-Press reports.

*KY Sen: "Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson's U.S. Senate exploratory committee said Monday that it has raised in excess of $600,000 since May -- more than twice what Sen. Jim Bunning raised for his re-election effort in the first quarter of this year," Louisville Courier-Journal reports.

*IL Sen: "Illinois Republican Rep. Mark Steven Kirk raised more than $580,000 in this year's second quarter and has more than $1 million in his campaign account -- funds he could use for a U.S. Senate campaign," CQ reports.

*AR-2: The NRCC is amping up its attacks on Rep. Vic Snyder, who refuses to raise money during off years, Roll Call reports. "If they are going to give the seven-term Democrat a real race this year, Republicans will have to field a top-tier candidate. After first winning a close election in 1996, Snyder has never been re-elected with less than 58 percent of the vote. Last cycle, Snyder went unopposed for the second time in his Congressional career."

*New Jersey Republican nominee Chris Christie "took a page out of Obama's 2008 campaign playbook today" as he promised to push hard for renewable energy-related jobs in New Jersey. "It's a change that President Obama stands firmly behind. I couldn't agree more," said Christie in a web video, which even included a still shot of Obama inspecting a solar panel, PolitickerNJ reports.

*A new Q poll shows close races for the U.S. Senate seat, with either Democrat leading Republican Rob Portman. Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher leads Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner by 3 points in a primary.

*Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick's (D) road to re-election may have gotten tougher now that state Treasurer Timothy Cahill has switched parties, becoming independent. Boston Globe: "As an independent, Cahill will be positioning himself as an outside candidate at a tumultuous time on Beacon Hill; he will also be sidestepping an uphill primary fight against an incumbent in a possible gubernatorial race.Cahill, a fiscal conservative, did not respond to requests for comment yesterday."

*MN Sen: MN Sec. of State Mark Ritchie writes on MPR: "I believe Minnesota has set a new standard of excellence not only in how we administer elections, but also in how we conduct fair and transparent recounts. I am not alone in that belief."

*The Hill examines 10 top House races in 2010.

--Kyle Trygstad and Mike Memoli