Thursday Morning Open Thread

Good morning.

The big news is the stunning, but not unexpected, revelation that the Pope was directly involved in protecting a monster, a priest who admitted to molesting over 200 deaf boys. It’s just so revolting. Hard to understand how Benedict maintains any moral authority after seeing how he coddled this depraved priest.

The President is heading to Iowa City, Iowa today — back to where it all began. According to the White House Daily Guidance:

President Obama first announced his health care plan in Iowa City in May 2007, launching a grassroots campaign for reform that led directly to the legislation passed this week.

The Senate continues work on the reconciliation bill today. But, over night, we learned that the bill will have to go back to the House for another vote because of some procedural issues identified by the GOPers. More on this later.

Early this morning, the Senate did defeat, by a vote of 36 – 59, Utah’s Senator Bob Bennett’s anti-marriage amendment. All the Democrats voted against it, joined by Senators Snowe and Collins.

This morning, Secretary Gates is going to announce new policies for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. As John tweeted last night, it’s “kinder and gentler bigotry.” We were promised a full repeal and that’s what we expect. Over the next few weeks, the Obama administration will be sending policy and budget recommendations to the Senate and House Armed Services Committees for inclusion in the Defense Authorization. If Obama really wants the DADT repealed this year, repeal language will be included those recommendations. If he doesn’t include repeal, that sends a powerful signal, too. A lot of people seem very concerned about what the White House will do. We’re watching. Closely. Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, who is rumored to be the campaign manager for the reelection effort, is the staffer handling this issue. Let’s see if he delivers on a 2008 campaign promise for his boss. “Kinder and gentler” isn’t enough.

Okay, it’s going to be a busy day…let’s get started.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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