Politics Today: Gates, Health Care and Sotomayor

Politics Today is CBSNews.com's inside look at the key stories driving the day in politics, written by CBS News Political Director Steve Chaggaris:

**Gates, Cambridge police Sgt. Crowley to meet at White House Thursday...

**Health care negotiations continue on Capitol Hill...

**Judiciary Committee votes on Sotomayor today...

(AP)
HENRY LOUIS GATES ARREST: CBS News' Rob Hendin confirms that on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET, President Obama will meet with Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge, Mass., police Sgt. James Crowley at the White House, putting some closure on what the White House has to see as a major distraction after the president waded into the controversy over Gates' arrest at his press conference last Wednesday.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs indicated yesterday that they will get together for a beer and that "a big part of this is an increased dialogue between both of the individuals here and - and their representation of both law enforcement and the minority community."

The Boston Globe adds "that both Gates and Crowley will be able to bring relatives" to the meeting.

As for what's on tap, Crowley likes Blue Moon, Gates either Red Stripe or Beck's and the president will be drinking the old American standby, Budweiser.

Los Angeles Times' Peter Nicholas, "Gates arrest a delicate matter to hash out over beer"

Boston Herald's Jessica Van Sack and Jessica Heslam, "Police tapes fail to put end to saga"

(AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
HEALTH CARE: As President Obama holds a town meeting-style event at the AARP headquarters in D.C. today at 1:30 p.m. ET, "A bipartisan group of senators is closing in on a health care compromise that omits key Democratic priorities but seeks to hold down costs, as lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol labor to deliver sweeping health legislation to President Barack Obama," report the Associated Press' David Espo and Erica Werner.

"After weeks of secretive talks, three Democrats and three Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee were edging closer to a compromise that excludes a requirement many congressional Democrats seek for large businesses to offer coverage to their workers. Nor would there be a provision for a government insurance option, despite Obama's support for such a plan, officials said."

The Wall Street Journal's Greg Hitt adds, "Baucus ... pushed ahead with efforts to forge a bipartisan bill, and appeared close to sealing a deal that would expand health insurance coverage, but by creating a network of nonprofit cooperatives, not by establishing a new public health plan as favored by senior House Democrats. Baucus spokesman Scott Mulhauser declined to discuss details but said a bipartisan group of Finance Committee members made 'strong and steady progress' toward a deal in recent days.

"Other individuals familiar with the negotiations suggested Mr. Baucus would like to unveil a deal later this week. But unclear Monday was whether Sen. Charles Grassley (R., Iowa) would sign onto the deal and pave the way for committee action next week."

However, on the House side, the Journal's Hitt writes, "Prospects dimmed for getting a full House vote on a consensus health-care bill this week, despite stepped-up efforts Monday by Democratic leaders in the chamber."

5192097"The Finance Committee talks are of particular concern because they are the only lasting bipartisan negotiations in the five House and Senate committees that have considered health-care legislation," writes the Washington Post's Paul Kane.

"They could prove to be a critical road map for attracting the few GOP votes needed for a bill's passage in the Senate, as well as for rallying support among conservative House Democrats who are worried about regional disparities in Medicare payments to health-care providers and a large tax on the wealthy to finance the legislation."

New York Times' David M. Herszenhorn and Robert Pear, "Health Policy Now Carved Out at a More Centrist Table"

Meantime, Bloomberg News' Shannon Pettypiece and Timothy J. Burger report, "Drugmakers may ramp up their push for an overhaul of the U.S. health care system by spending $100 million on ads starting as early as September, said a person familiar with the discussion. …

"PhRMA will be running television commercials in August, in states where pharmaceutical companies have operations, asserting the importance of the drug industry for the economy, Johnson said. The drugmakers, by offering to lower drugs costs by $80 billion over 10 years, became one of the first industries to reach an agreement with the Obama administration in its efforts to revamp the health-care system. The drugmakers said they would oppose legislation allowing the government to negotiate prices on medicines sold through the U.S. drug program of Medicare."

CBSNews.com's Prerana Swami, "Will Congress Curb Viagra Ads?"

Politico's Patrick O'Connor, "Democrats search for villains on health care"

CQ Politics' Emily Cadei, "2010 and Health Care: Ad Campaigns Heat Up"

Washington Post's Philip Rucker, "S.C. Senator Is a Voice Of Reform Opposition"

Los Angeles Times' James Oliphant, "Healthcare debate's next hurdle: abortion"

The Hill's Bob Cusack, "Lobbyists gain upper hand in Obama battle"

Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown, "Max Baucus shoots down 'Botox tax' idea"

5161860SOTOMAYOR COMMITTEE VOTE: "Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's first Supreme Court nominee, is expected to win approval today in a near-party line vote of the Senate Judiciary Committee, reflecting the divide over judicial nominees that has taken hold in recent years," writes the Los Angeles Times' David G. Savage.

"All 12 Democrats on the panel have voiced support for the New York judge, while all but one of the seven Republicans have indicated they would oppose her despite her strong qualifications.

"The lineup signals Sotomayor will win confirmation in the Senate by a comfortable margin and become the first Latino justice, but she will do so without much Republican support. The full Senate is expected to take up her nomination next week."

McClatchy Newspaper's David Lightman, "Conservatives think Sotomayor could give them political boost"

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
BUNNING TO RETIRE: Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., the former pitcher in the Baseball Hall of Fame, has decided to hang up his cleats after months of pressure from Republican leaders and resistance from the 79-year-old senator.

Bunning cited fund-raising woes as his reason yesterday – he only had around $600,000 in the bank as of 6/30 – but the reality was his poll numbers were sagging and he had lost the support of many of his fellow Republicans, ultimately putting what should be a safe Republican seat in possible jeopardy.

He has blamed his fellow Kentuckian, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, for trying to sabotage his campaign. Yesterday, Bunning all but named McConnell as the reason for his fund-raising problems.

"Over the past year, some of the leaders of the Republican Party in the Senate have done everything in their power to dry up my fundraising," Bunning said. "The simple fact is that I have not raised the funds necessary to run an effective campaign for the U.S. Senate. For this reason, I will not be a candidate for re-election in 2010."

His retirement paves the way for Secretary of State Trey Grayson, a family friend of Bunning's, to run in the primary. Also considering a run, Rand Paul, the son of Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex., who made a name for himself with his long shot presidential run last year and recently found himself on the wrong end of an interview in the comedy film "Bruno."

"Paul, a Bowling Green ophthalmologist, has raised more than $100,000 for his exploratory committee," writes the Louisville Courier-Journal's Joseph Gerth.

"Republican Cathy Bailey, a former U.S. ambassador to Latvia, said Monday she is still considering the race. ... Bill Johnson, a first-time candidate from Elkton in Todd County, has previously said he is running.

"On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo and Attorney General Jack Conway are both seeking their party's nomination."

ALSO TODAY: At 4 p.m., "the President and the Vice President will meet with the Chairs of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue – Secretaries Clinton and Geithner and Vice Premier Wang and State Councilor Dai – in the Oval Office," per the White House. "They will briefly discuss outcomes of the first S&ED, as well as underscore some important issues of mutual concern, such as global economic recovery, North Korea, and efforts to combat global climate change."

Washington Times' Sean Lengell, "U.S. courts China at economic summit"

Associated Press' Martin Crutsinger, "US, China have pointed questions in private"

(AP)
This morning, "Vice President Biden and Attorney General Holder will be at Philadelphia City Hall where they will make a major American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding announcement for law enforcement agencies across the nation," per a White House press release.

"They will be joined by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and City of Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey."

Associated Press' Devlin Barrett, "AP sources: 4 big cities, no COPS aid"


FOREIGN POLICY

CBS News' Mark Knoller, "In Foreign Policy, Obama Turns to Sports Heroes"

Associated Press' Anne Gearan, "Defense Secretary Gates arrives in Iraq"

WALL STREET

Associated Press' Anne Flaherty, "Frank wants tougher rules for Wall Street pay"

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION

CBS News' Rob Hendin, "Obama Administration Releases Budget Cuts"

NY Times' Eric Lichtblau and James Risen, "Power Shifts in Plan for Capital Calamity"

Politico's Kenneth P. Vogel, "President Obama refunds cash to Kenyan aunt, convicted murder, lobbyists"

Honolulu Advertiser's Dan Nakaso, "Obama Hawaii born, insist Isle officials"

SARAH PALIN

Anchorage Daily News, "The day after"

SEN. JOHN ENSIGN

Las Vegas Sun's Lisa Mascaro, "In latest blow, Ensign's top staffers depart"

FUTURE RACES

2009 NJ Governor: Newark Star-Ledger's Paul Mulshine, "N.J. corruption scandal: Gov. Jon Corzine on the spot as some call for him to drop re-election campaign"

2009 NYC Mayor: Quinnipiac Poll, "Thompson Cuts Bloomberg's Lead In Half In Mayoral Race"

2010 MN Governor: Minneapolis Star Tribune's Mark Brunswick, "Coleman is waiting until spring to decide on run for governor"

2010 CT Senate: NY Times' Raymond Hernandez, "Dodd's Uneasy Dance With Drug Lobbyists"

2010 CT Senate: Associated Press' Larry Margasak, "Testimony: Sens. Conrad, Dodd told of VIP loans"

2010 NY Senate: NY Daily News' David Saltonstall, "Manhattan Rep. Carolyn Maloney delaying start of challenge to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand"

2010 OH Senate: Youngstown Vindicator, "Ryan backs Fisher for U.S. senator"

2010 PA Senate: The Hill's Reid Wilson, "Specter gets Dems' cash as he returns GOP funds"
  • Steve Chaggaris

    Steve Chaggaris is CBSNews.com's Executive Editor, Washington.

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