Morning Examiner: Spending his Osama capital 

President Obama’s post-Osama bin Laden job approval bounce has largely dissipated for most issue areas, but it still persists in the realm of foreign policy (49-46 overall in the latest NBC/WSJ poll, compared to 50-44 on foreign policy). Obama will need that goodwill this week as he both announces troop withdrawal levels from Afghanistan and navigates the months-old conflict in Libya. In addition to theadded goodwill of the bin Laden operation, Obama is also cushioned by the fact that on both Afghanistan and Libya, Republican opinion is divided.

Around the Bigs
The Los Angeles Times, Obama expected to announce major Afghan drawdown: “Pentagon and White House officials say about 10,000 troops will probably come home this year, a bigger number than Gen. David Petraeus wanted.”

The New York Times, Scores of U.S. Strikes in Libya Followed Handoff to NATO: “Since the United States handed control of the air war in Libya to NATO in early April, American warplanes have struck at Libyan air defenses about 60 times, and remotely operated drones have fired missiles at Libyan forces about 30 times, according to military officials. ”

The Washington Post editorial board, A sensible call on the Wal-Mart class-action suit: “All nine justices gave Wal-Mart and other corporate defendants a victory by ruling that they must be allowed to beat back individual monetary claims and not be bound by statistical models pushed by the plaintiffs.”

The Wall Street Journal, Fed Sue Bankers Over Fall in Bionds: "Federal regulators accused J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC of duping five large credit unions into buying more than $3 billion in mortgage bonds that were "destined to perform poorly," and that quickly sank the credit unions. ... The two civil lawsuits filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., by the National Credit Union Administration are the most aggressive move yet by U.S. regulators to recover losses from Wall Street firms for alleged wrongdoing before and during the financial crisis."

The Hill, GOP wants 10-year plan to cut spending as part of debt deal: “Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) on Monday said Senate Republicans want commitments on a 10-year budget plan that guarantees reduced spending as part of any agreement to increase the debt ceiling. … Kyl added that Republicans also want real entitlement reform, to make sure spending continues to drop after 10 years.”

Politico, Donor meeting at White House drawing fire: “White House spokesmen say the March 7 meeting in the Blue Room between Obama and about 20 Wall Street executives involved discussion of policies affecting the financial industry. However, the gathering, which was first reported last week by The New York Times, has drawn scrutiny and criticism because the Democratic National Committee extended invitations to the session.”

The Hill, Supreme Court rejects climate lawsuit against power companies: “The Supreme Court rejected a climate change lawsuit against major power companies Monday, ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency, not the courts, should impose curbs on greenhouse gas emissions. The unanimous decision immediately raises the stakes in the ongoing battle over EPA’s pending greenhouse gas rules by stymieing direct court cases against power companies over climate change.”

The New York Times, Health Law in a Swirl of Forecasts: “After nearly two weeks of widespread queries and criticisms, McKinsey & Company, the management consulting firm, posted on Monday the questionnaire and methodology of an online survey it had released that was denounced by the White House and others for contending that nearly a third of employers would definitely or probably drop coverage for employees when provisions of the health care law took effect in 2014.”

USA Today, California district can’t afford to use new $105M school: “Hillcrest High School in Riverside was planned to relieve crowding at a nearby school and was financed with bonds approved by voters in 2007. But Wendell Tucker, superintendent of the Alvord Unified School District, says big cuts in state funding have left the inland Southern California district without the means to hire administrators, teachers and other staff needed to open the campus when the school year starts this fall.”

Politico, NRCC has twice the cash of DCCC: “The NRCC reported it had $10.6 million in the bank through the end of May, while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had $5.3 million. The House GOP campaign arm outraised the DCCC $4.6 million to $3.8 million over the course of the month.”

Campaign 2012
Politico, The anatomy of gaming a straw poll: “Some Louisiana Republicans are unhappy because, as the email twice gets at, it wasn’t just Republicans who were brought in to vote for Huntsman. … Free bus, free tickets, free food. You get the picture.”

National Review, Which GOP Candidate Has the Best Job-Growth Record?: “Gary Johnson has the best record of the official candidates, with a job-growth rate of 11.6 percent during his tenure. … Among the crowd who governed primarily during the 2000s, Huntsman has the best record. During his 2005 to 2009 tenure as governor of Utah, the number of jobs grew by 5.9 percent. Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty have much weaker records. Romney, who governed Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, had an overall job-growth rate of 1.6 percent. During Pawlenty’s time as governor of Minnesota (2003 to 2011), the number of jobs grew by an anemic 0.5 percent.”

USA Today, Huntsman’s Utah record will face increased scrutiny: “Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who was Huntsman’s 2004 campaign manager, said Huntsman campaigned that year as more conservative than he turned out to be as governor. “It will be interesting to see what sort of platform he will come up with in his run for the presidency,” Chaffetz said.

National Review, Bolton 2012?: “[Bolton]will decide by Labor Day, a self-imposed deadline. Until then, Bolton is drafting a multifaceted strategy, one that would enable him to enter late. … Bolton wonders why Huntsman, if he is a conservative, decided to accept the president’s appointment. “There is no patriotic obligation to help advance the career of a politician who is otherwise pursuing interests that are fundamentally antithetical to your values. That’s not the call of patriotism,” he says.”

Righty playbook:

  • RedState.com’s Erick Erickson is starting to get some traction with his “Cut-Cap-and-Balance Pledge” that challenges conservative movement activist groups and officeholders to match their words with concrete actions to cut federal spending and limit the government.
  • The Corner‘s Brian Bolduc reports on Tea Party efforts to collect signatures for a petition to hold a referendum on two state laws that will implement the health-care overhaul. This may become a trend in states that are more conservative but also have governors that are going ahead with the implementation of Obamacare.
  • Forbes‘ Avik Roy details the soundness of the McKinsey survey showing that a third of all employers will dump their employees onto the Obamacare exchanges by 2014.
  • Hot Air‘s Allahpundit notes that even though the White House claims there are no hostilities in Libya, the Defense Department is paying the service members who fly planes over Libya or serve on ships within 110 nautical miles of its shores an extra $225 a month in “imminent danger pay.”

Lefty playbook

  • Daily Kos‘ Jed Lewison reminds readers of U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue’s promise last week to defeat any Republican who blocked an increase in the debt limit. He asks what the Chamber will do now that NV 02 GOP special election candidate Mark Amodei has posted a new web ad where he promies, “I’ll never vote to raise Obama’s debt limit.” This will not be the last time Donohue’s debt limit comments are used against the Chamber.
  • Talking Points Memo slams Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., for claiming that Canada survived the latest recession without a stimulus. Canada’s conservative government did pass a stimulus, although it was much smaller than Obama’s.

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