Morning Examiner: Billions for Egypt’s unemployed, but what about ours? 

Middle East: President Obama will give an address on the Middle East from the State Department this morning. The venue is designed to underscore a policy shift in the region away from the military, and towards diplomacy. As an additional sweetener, Obama will announce $2 billion in debt forgiveness and loan guarantees for Egypt and Tunisia.

Domestically, this is either a very gutsy, or completely tone-deaf move by the administration. The president’s base is grumbling every day about Obama’s lack of focus on jobs and his unwillingness to fight for new spending in Congress. Yet here he is giving away $2 billion to the unemployed half-a-world away. The White House may claim they found the money by re-programming existing funds, but that only reinforces conservative claims that there is tons of loose change that could be cut from the State Department’s budget. Foreign aid is one of the few government spending programs that vast majorities of conservatives and liberals are willing to cut.

Also left unclear is how Obama will get around his promise to comply with the War Powers Act on Libya. Yesterday, Six Republican Senators (Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Mike Lee, R-Utah, Jim DeMint, R-S.C., Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Jon Cornyn, R-Texas) sent Obama a letter asking how he intended to keep his promise.

Gingrich: It’s no longer a question of how much damage Newt Gingrich does to himself, the question now is how many people he will take down with him. Yesterday, the Newt drama shifted focus away from Gingrich and onto his spokesman Rick Tyler, who emailed The Huffington Post‘s Michael Calderone that “The literati sent out their minions to do their bidding. Washington cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world. … But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won’t be intimated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces.”

To get the full paranoid effect, you have to read the whole thing. Rush Limbaugh responded: “Actually, I am part of the constitutional, free market, individual liberty circuit.” Politico‘s Ben Smith added: “Tyler’s comments puzzled many because Gingrich’s criticism of Paul Ryan drew the sharpest criticism not from the “liberal media” but from the core of his own conservative movement.”

Daniels: RedState‘s Erick Erickson reports: “Three people who know Daniels well are telling me his mind is made up and his wife is at peace with the decision. They could be reading tea leaves, but they tell me their certainty goes beyond that.”

But the Erickson goes on to warn that if Daniels should stumble like Gingrich is out of the gate, he predicts a draft-Texas Gov. Rick Perry movement could grow quickly.

Huntsman: As if on cue, The Washington Post runs a fluffy profile of Jon Huntsman proving he is the John McCain of 2012.

Budget: Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has an op-ed in today’s Washington Post explaining why he left the Gang of Six: “Commissions and ‘gangs’ form when members lose confidence in the institutions in which they serve. Working groups have their place — but they should support, not replace, the open work of the full Senate. The truth is that we already have a permanent standing debt commission. It’s called Congress.”

Coburn then announces he will unveil a $9 trillion spending cut plan in the coming weeks. And Grover Norquist will not like it. Coburn adds: “The public rightly prefers spending cuts over revenue increases, but numerous polls indicate the vast majority of Americans would support the only type of plan that would ever make it out of Congress and be signed into law: one that favors spending cuts over revenue increases but includes both.”

Meanwhile, the liberal Agenda Project has a new web-ad out claiming that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity is literally the same as pushing granny off a cliff.

And on the debt limit front, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said yesterday, that there is no “Plan B” if Congress does not vote to increase the debt limit by August.

Judiciary: According to the Associated Press, it appears that Republicans have the votes to block Obama’s nomination of UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Legal Times reports that Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., all added their names to the no-list citing Liu’s inflammatory testimony against Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito in 2006.

Righty playbook:

  • The Examiner‘s Phil Klein details the problem with the Pawlenty-Gingrich approach to Medicare.
  • RedState‘s Erick Erickson promotes the New Leaders Project from American Majority.
  • Also at RedState, Erickson reports that Grover Norquist lobbied for both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • The Weekly Standard‘s Mark Hemingway notes the White House’s decision to shut out the Boston Herald fits a larger pattern of media favoritism.
  • A Judicial Watch FOIA request has scored documents linking suggesting Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan helped coordinate the Obama administration’s legal defense of Obamacare while she served as Solicitor General.
  • At The Corner, David Rivkin and Andrew Grossman warn conservatives not to be misled by “inconsistent constitutionalist” attacks on the PATRIOT Act.

Lefty playbook:

  • The Huffington Post‘s Arianna Huffington previews her commencement address to Sarah Lawrence grads: good luck, you’re gonna need it!
  • ThinkProgress details Republican governors’ War on the Arts.
  • Talking Points Memo looks back at The Week O’ Newt in pictures.
  • Atrios says Democrats are as much to blame as the media for letting deficits, not jobs, become the focus of debate in Washington.
  • Firedoglake is running a membership drive, $45 to join, through June 1.

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