**President Obama to talk "paygo" today...
**First Gitmo detainee to U.S...
**Democratic gubernatorial primary in Virginia today...
**Have Republicans found their voice?
**Hastert, the sequel?
He will talk about his plan to stick to the "pay-as-you-go" system, or "paygo", which requires that any bills designed to cut taxes, to establish new programs or expanding programs be offset by higher taxes or benefit cuts somewhere else.
The idea has been proposed by the moderate and conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats to pay for the president's health care plan and other proposals. Members of the "Blue Dogs" will attend the president's remarks at 1 p.m. ET.
Meantime, Mr. Obama's attempt to re-focus on the positives of his stimulus plan yesterday ran into a wall of skepticism.
In an article headlined, "Obama's new stimulus plan same as the old," the Associated Press' Brett J. Blackledge and Matt Apuzzo write, "President Barack Obama is promising some exciting coming attractions for his stimulus plan. But it turns out they're just summer reruns. Obama promised Monday to ramp up spending from the $787 billion stimulus fund and create or save 600,000 jobs by the end of the summer.
"It was an effort to shift the focus away from persistently rising unemployment and beat back criticism that the money isn't flowing quickly enough. Those promises aren't new. Stimulus spending had always been expected to rise sharply this summer, and the White House has been predicting that 600,000 job total for about a month. Obama faces souring public opinion over his handling of the economy, which has shed 1.6 million jobs since the stimulus was signed in February. That total has far overshadowed White House announcements estimating the effort has saved 150,000 jobs, a figure that is so murky it can never be verified."
"Obama has said the stimulus package has saved or created 150,000 jobs already and continues to pay off. Those numbers appear to be elastic, though: On a Sunday-morning news show, his senior advisor David Axelrod said the plan 'has produced hundreds of thousands of jobs,'" adds the Los Angeles Times' Peter Nicholas.
"Republicans are arguing that the stimulus package has failed. 'In order to achieve Keynesian economic nirvana,' Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said Monday, 'one has to spend the money essentially on bricks and mortar and get the money out the door quickly.' Hensarling said he was not a fan of economist John Maynard Keynes, who advocated government intervention, including deficit spending, to address severe downturns."
"Obama also will face increasing questions not only about the deficit explosion but also about the effectiveness of the $787 billion stimulus bill. Republicans say the 'save or create' metric for jobs is meaningless, since it's impossible to prove or disprove," write Politico's Eamon Javers and Mike Allen.
"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement to POLITICO: 'I'm very skeptical that the spending binge that we're on is going to produce much good and, even if it does, anytime soon.' The president sounded a defensive note in his remarks, saying his administration inherited a collapsing economy. 'Had we done nothing, I think it's fair to say that most economists believe that we could have gone into a tailspin,' he said."
GITMO DETAINEE TO U.S. Tribune's Mark Silva reports, "The first detainee from the military-run prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to arrive in the United States has been moved to New York City to face criminal charges for the bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, according to the Justice Department.
"The move comes at a time when President Barack Obama has pledged to close the military-run prison at Guantanamo within a year, while authorities attempt to secure alternative places for them. This has sparked a political debate within the United States, with Republican leaders of Congress warning that Americans don't want terrorists housed at prisons near them and the Obama administration maintaining that secure federal facilities are capable of incarcerating them."
The Democratic Party is looking to make it three-in-a-row in governor's races in Virginia after former Gov. and now Sen. Mark Warner's 2001 win and current Gov. Tim Kaine's victory in 2005.
"The three Democratic gubernatorial prospects today close out a highly contentious but little-noticed primary battle likely to decided by a sliver of Virginia voters," reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch's Jeff E. Schapiro.
"A late surge by R. Creigh Deeds again is forcing Terry McAuliffe and Brian J. Moran to attack Deeds over his pro-gun stance, including attempts in 2008 and this year to overturn a veto by departing Gov. Timothy M. Kaine of legislation banning concealed firearms in bars. Strategists suggest that an unknown heading into the first Democratic primary for governor in 32 years is the impact of get-out-the-vote apparatuses assembled by the candidates largely out of view.
"Balloting in the primary -- open to all voters, regardless of their party preference -- begins at 6 a.m. and continues until 7 p.m. ... Virginia has about 5 million registered voters, but turnout is expected to be below 5 percent. ... Weather could keep some voters home. The forecast is calling for afternoon showers and thunderstorms, perhaps severe."
"With surveys showing remarkable volatility in the race's final days and election officials predicting low turnout, all three campaigns have agreed that victory will come to the candidate whose supporters are energized enough to visit the polls on a muggy and possibly stormy June day," adds the Washington Post's Rosalind S. Helderman and Anita Kumar. …
"The Democratic Party, once an outgunned minority in Virginia, has seen a dramatic return to power during the past decade as voters embraced a succession of pragmatic moderates. This is the first contested Democratic primary for governor in more than 30 years, however, and it could provide a window into the mind-set of Democratic voters. Two of the most recent Democrats elected statewide -- James Webb for the Senate in 2006 and Mark R. Warner as governor in 2001 and senator in 2008 -- are moderates who appealed to both urban and rural voters. But the 2005 election of Timothy M. Kaine as governor began what some see as a gradual shift to the left."
"Republicans, though, say they are hopeful in this race because Mr. McDonnell has generally polled better than any of the three Democrats running to oppose him. Republicans say they would strengthen their hand nationally if they can beat the Democrats vying to replace Mr. Kaine, the Democratic national chairman, in a state that Mr. Obama has courted over the past four years.
"The three Democrats agree on most major issues. Each supports the death penalty, enforcement of immigration laws and higher salaries for teachers. Each has said he will bring new jobs and high-speed rail to Virginia. Mr. Moran opposes drilling for oil and gas off the state's coast, while Mr. McAuliffe backs limited drilling for natural gas only and Mr. Deeds is open to drilling for either. Their campaign strategies and personal styles pose the starkest contrasts."
The Los Angeles Times' Faye Fiore, "Terry McAuliffe a force of nature in Virginia race"
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was there and Tweeted about his reunion with the Palins: "Great to see Sarah and Todd at the dinner tonight - nice reunion!" Potential 2012 rival, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, was the keynote speaker, there were many criticisms of President Obama, $14.5 million was raised for the 2010 election efforts of the National Congressional and Senatorial Campaign Committees.
Debate will undoubtedly rage on as to who the "spokesperson" of the Republican Party is (quick: name the "spokesperson" for the Republicans after President George H.W. Bush lost in 1992, or the "spokesperson" for the Democrats after Al Gore lost in 2000 and after John Kerry lost in 2004).
"Since Mr. Obama's victory over Sen. John McCain of Arizona in November, Democrats have mocked the Republican Party for recycling former leaders while attempting to paint polarizing figures such as talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh and former Vice President Dick Cheney as titular party heads," writes the Washington Times' Kara Rowland.
"But Republicans pointed out that it's not surprising to find a field of several potential leaders after losing the White House, and argued that electoral success hinges more on ideas than a single party leader. 'After [the loss of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry] 2004, before Barack Obama, the Democrats didn't really have a leader,' said Republican strategist Kevin Madden."
""A majority Republican party will have lots of debates within the party," he added. "That is the nature of majority parties."
In the short term, it will be what the Republicans are saying, not necessarily who's saying it, that will determine the immediate success or failure of the GOP moving forward. Eventually, they'll need a messenger, in 2012, but for now, they're working on shoring up that message.
Gingrich and the other speakers last night offered a blueprint of what their arguments are, and it was quite harsh, considering they're directed towards a president who is still enjoying near-stratospheric approval ratings.
Gingrich was especially harsh on Mr. Obama, saying he has "already failed" as president and that Republicans need to "make sure" this is "a one term presidency in the Jimmy Carter tradition." He cited Mr. Obama's response to the economy and handling of the federal bailouts of the financial and auto industries as evidence of "failure".
Actor Jon Voight, who was the dinner's emcee, called the president a "false prophet" and said the nation was under an "Obama oppression."
There was also more criticism of the health care plan that's being hammered out in Congress, criticism that percolated over the weekend after the president suggested that there would be a government-run portion of the plan. Gingrich and others ominously asked whether Americans wanted "bureaucrats" deciding whether they should get treatment for illnesses and described a "British-style" health care system where there would be lines to wait for care.
5065717SOTOMAYOR: Vice President Biden rallies support for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor with national law enforcement representatives during an 11 a.m. event at the White House. New York County District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, President of the Police Executive Research Forum and Miami Chief of Police John Timoney, and President of National District Attorneys Association Joseph Cassilly will all speak on her behalf.
LA Times' James Oliphant, "Sotomayor is remembered as a zealous prosecutor"
NY Times' John Schwartz, "An Ivy-Covered Path to the Supreme Court"
HASTERT FOR CONGRESS? "Ethan Hastert has announced he'll run for his father's old seat in Congress," reports the Kane County Chronicle's Kate Thayer.
"Hastert, 31, said Monday that he's forming a committee to begin his campaign and fundraising for the 14th District Congressional seat [in Illinois]. He's the first candidate to officially announce a run at the seat in 2010. Although he's never run for office, Hastert, a Republican, said he's been around the process through his father's political career. Dennis Hastert represented the 14th District from 1987 to 2007 – serving as Speaker of the House for about eight years of his tenure. Bill Foster, D-Batavia, won a special election and last year's general election to fill his spot. Foster said Monday that he hasn't decided if he'll run for re-election."
Washington Post's Ceci Connolly, "Decision Makers Differ on How To Mend Broken Health Care System"
Bloomberg News' Laura Litvan and James Rowley, "House Democrats to Advance Health-Care Plan as Republicans Balk"
Associated Press' David Espo, "Sources: House Democrats consider taxing benefits"
The Hill's J. Taylor Rushing, "Fight over public plan intensifies"
NY Times' Robert Pear, "Health Care Spending Disparities Stir a Fight"
Wall Street Journal's Janet Adamy and Greg Hitt, "Two Thorny Details Bedevil Health Bill"
NY Times' David M. Herszenhorn, "Senate Feels Ted Kennedy's Absence on Health Bill"
Wall Street Journal's Jake Sherman, "GOP Blocks Census Nominee"
2009 NY Mayor: NY Times' David W. Chen and Marjorie Connolly, "Poll Finds Lukewarm Support for Bloomberg"
2010 FL Senate: Sarasota Herald-Tribune's Jeremy Wallace, "Former Senator aims to run against Crist"
2010 FL Senate: Concord Monitor's Lauren R. Dorgan, "Former senator seeks a return to D.C. via Florida"
2010 KY Senate: WorldNetDaily's Drew Zahn, "Ron Paul's son for Senate?"
2010 NC Senate: Raleigh News & Observer, "Shuler will not take on Burr"
2010 PA Senate: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Mike Wereschagin and Salena Zito, "Likely Specter challenger makes early rounds"