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Karzai visits Washington while Iraq experiences its deadliest day of 2010. Plus: The Kagan battle begins.

White House: Obama Meets With Karzai

• "President Barack Obama and Afghan leader Hamid Karzai meet this week looking for ways to resolve disputes over corruption and possible terms for peace as the U.S.-led military campaign moves into the Taliban's heartland," Bloomberg News reports.

• Obama "had just flown into Hampton, Va., Sunday morning to deliver a commencement address. But before he donned his silky academic robes, he was on the phone with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, offering urgent advice -- and some not so subtle prodding -- that Europe needed to try something big" to address the Greek debt crisis, the New York Times reports.

 

• Obama "revived an agreement with Russia on Monday in which the two countries would cooperate on civilian nuclear energy, almost two years after it was shelved over Russia's war with Georgia," Reuters reports.

Supreme Court: Inhofe Leads GOP Attacks

• "Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., announced opposition to Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan just hours after" Obama "selected her Monday to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports. "Inhofe's quick response kicked off a GOP debate about Kagan's resume."

• "The White House is wasting no time getting its campaign under way to sell" Kagan "to the Senate, with an onslaught of phone calls and Hill visits on tap this week in preparation for a final vote by the July Fourth recess," Roll Call (subscription) reports.

 

• "Interest groups from across the spectrum took their places along predictable ideological fault lines Monday in ruminating the merits of" Kagan's "nomination to the Supreme Court," Roll Call (subscription) reports.

• "The selection of" Kagan "to be the nation's 112th justice extends a quarter-century pattern in which Republican presidents generally install strong conservatives on the Supreme Court while Democratic presidents pick candidates who often disappoint their liberal base," the New York Times reports in a news analysis.

• "With his second Supreme Court nomination in as many years," Obama "has laid down clear markers of his vision for the court, one that could prove to be among his most enduring legacies," the Washington Post reports.

• For more on Kagan and the upcoming confirmation battle, see NationalJournal.com's SCOTUS blog, The Ninth Justice.

 

Politics: Sestak Attacks Specter On Kagan

• Kagan's nomination "provided Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidate Joe Sestak ammunition to attack Senator Arlen Specter's record on judicial confirmations as the Democratic primary matchup between the two men entered its final days," Bloomberg News reports.

• Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., "believes his home state will elect a GOP senator next year even if ophthalmologist Rand Paul (R) wins the party's primary -- a notion starkly at odds with that of top GOPers in DC and KY, including many close to McConnell," Hotline On Call reports.

• "Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., is benefiting from a late surge in contributions as he struggles to secure renomination in what should be a surprisingly close primary election today," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports. "In the last two weeks, Mollohan has received at least $121,000 from last-minute donors, according to filings made by his campaign."

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• "The National Republican Congressional Committee, looking for more potential pickups in November's elections, will start running cable television ads today to try to undercut three Democrats in competitive races," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports. "The ads will run for two weeks against Rep. Walt Minnick of Idaho and Trent Van Haaften, who is running for an open seat in Indiana, and for three weeks against Rep. Bobby Bright of Alabama."

National Security: Iraq Experiences Deadliest Day of 2010

• "Iraq boosted security around Baghdad and the rest of the country Tuesday, a day after a string of attacks across the country killed 119 people and wounded hundreds," AP reports.

• "Iran's military warned off a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft trying to approach Iranian naval maneuvers, Fars News Agency reported on Tuesday," Reuters reports.

World: Iran Wants EU Talks

• "Iran is willing to hold talks with the European Union's foreign policy chief over its disputed nuclear activities, a senior official said on Tuesday, after the bloc's top diplomat spoke of new sanctions against Tehran," Reuters reports.

• "Philippine Sen. Benigno Aquino III, whose parents fought to topple a dictatorship, promised Tuesday to fulfill his campaign promise to fight corruption as he headed for a landslide victory in the presidential elections," AP reports.

• "Germany's support for the European Union has been so unflinching that it's taken for granted, but cracks are now emerging in the wake of an unpopular decision to help bail out a struggling Greece," AP reports.

Economy: Bernanke To Back Europe

• "The Federal Reserve sought to pre-empt criticism of its decision to reopen a controversial lending program, in which it funnels U.S. dollars to the European Central Bank and other central banks overseas, by arguing the move was necessary to prevent Europe's crisis from reaching U.S. shores," the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports.

• "Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry on Monday urged" Obama "to quickly press for a vote in Congress on a long-delayed free trade agreement with South Korea," Reuters reports.

• "Backers of stalled trade pacts used Monday's third anniversary of a bipartisan deal to expedite the accords to remind the Obama administration and Democratic leaders that U.S. agricultural and manufacturing interests are falling behind while the pacts languish," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports.

• "Taxes may go up on cigarette-shaped 'little cigars' as part of an effort to finance small business job-creation incentives, according to Senate aides, and the roll-your-own tobacco industry is fighting hard to avoid a similar fate," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports.

Congress: Coburn Bill Targets Earmarks

• "Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and a bipartisan group of Senators will propose legislation Tuesday to create a new, centralized earmark database to provide the public with more consistent and accessible information on earmark requests," Roll Call reports.

• House Appropriations Ranking Member Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., "Monday wrote to House Budget Chairman John Spratt and ranking member Paul Ryan urging them not to include White House-proposed funding increases for IRS enforcement programs in the House FY11 budget resolution," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports.

Energy & Environment: Officials To Place Blame For Spill

• "Representatives from three companies at the heart of an investigation into a deadly offshore rig explosion and the massive and still-growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are expected to clash" today "as they face off with lawmakers for the first time at two Senate hearings," NationalJournal.com reports.

• "After a 98-ton steel containment dome failed to stop a leak that continues to pour oil from a runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico, BP executives said on Monday that they would take another attempt at stemming some of the flow later this week with a far smaller containment device," the New York Times reports.

• "Obama wants Congress to lift the caps on the decades-old Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund so as to give the Coast Guard more flexibility in coping with the Gulf of Mexico disaster and recovering damage costs from BP," Politico reports.

• "Legislation to cap greenhouse gas emissions from industrial polluters may be set aside this year in favor of a measure that ramps up electricity production from renewable sources such as wind farms, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said," Bloomberg News reports.

Transportation: Feds Launch Second Toyota Probe

• "Federal regulators are opening a second investigation into whether Toyota delayed notifying government authorities of a dangerous defect, this one affecting the steering systems of nearly 1 million sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks," the Washington Post reports.

• "Toyota faced 'very, very serious credibility problems' in the wake of its safety crisis, but changed its attitude toward American regulators after its president, Akio Toyoda, visited the United States, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Monday," the New York Times reports.

• "Labor unions will have an easier time organizing workers at airline and railroad companies after the Obama administration on Monday changed a 76-year-old rule on union elections," AP reports.

Health Care: Lawsuits Pile Up

• "In the seven weeks since the [health care] legislation passed, at least a dozen lawsuits have been filed in federal courts to challenge it, according to the Justice Department," the New York Times reports. "But the case that could carry the most weight, and may be on the fastest track in the most advantageous venue, is the one filed in Pensacola, Fla., by state officials, just minutes after" Obama "signed the bill."

• "Some families could pay a price if they seize the chance offered by the new health-care law to keep children up to age 26 on their insurance policies, regulations drafted by the Obama administration show," the Washington Post reports.

• "The nation's nutrition programs now feed one in four Americans, but those people need to eat more-nutritious food, Agriculture Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon said Monday," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports.

Technology: GOP Plots Against Broadband Regulation

• "Republican anger over" Federal Communications Commission "Chairman Julius Genachowski's proposal last week to subject broadband service to increased regulation has boiled over into legislative efforts to stall or block him," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports.

• "The technology sector, a little-publicized but key player in the coalition that is pushing for an overhaul of immigration laws, is giving mixed reviews to the proposal that Senate Democrats recently unveiled," the Washington Post reports.

Lobbying: Big Banks Look To Revolving Door

• "The nation's six largest banks and their trade associations have hired more than 240 former government officials-turned-lobbyists to represent them in the fight over Wall Street reform, according to a new report by several progressive groups," Politico reports.

• "A proposed amendment to the Senate's Wall Street reform legislation has prompted a lobbying fight that will test the oil industry's political clout following the Gulf of Mexico spill," The Hill reports.

• "Hundreds of veterans" today "will urge lawmakers this year to repeal the ban on openly gay personnel serving in the military," The Hill reports. "The approximately 350 veterans from 44 states will lobby lawmakers as the House and Senate Armed Services committees prepare to write the 2011 national defense authorization bill."

Commentary: The Kagan Mystery

• In Earlybird's Pundits & Editorials section, Kagan's lack of opinions is seen as "disturbing" by David Brooks, and the New York Times notes that the public doesn't know as much about the nominee as Obama.

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