The Morning Line: Wall Street Reform to Become Law

BY David Chalian  July 21, 2010 at 8:52 AM EST

Three months after his first major bill signing of the year with health care legislation, President Obama will drum up the fanfare again as he puts pen(s) to paper to sign Wall Street reform into law. (Presumably, Vice President Biden will be kept away from open microphones at today’s event.)

This key legislative accomplishment will also likely not need as much salesmanship after the fact as the health care bill since it is far more popular among the broader electorate.
But that won’t stop President Obama from selling it a bit in what has shaped up to be a week-long economic agenda victory lap.

Beginning with the weekly address over the weekend, followed by the Rose Garden hammering on extending unemployment benefits and the successful succession of the cloture vote (Tuesday) and final passage (expected today), the president has been working to keep the focus on his efforts to aid a still ailing economy.

The Shirley Sherrod Side Show

As we approach the anniversary of the White House “beer summit” on race, a new race-based controversy dominates the airwaves. But this one may tell us more about the rapidity of the news cycle and its impact than it does about race.

The Washington Post takes a look at what led to USDA official Shirley Sherrod’s firing due to some video excerpts of a speech she delivered to an NAACP gathering last spring.

Once the White House saw the full video in its proper context, officials urged Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to review his personnel decision in this matter.

“I am of course willing and will conduct a thorough review and consider additional facts to ensure to the American people we are providing services in a fair and equitable manner,” said Vilsack in an overnight statement.

This morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Sherrod told George Stephanopoulos that she isn’t sure if she would return to her job if the position was once again offered to her.

This is clearly not the story line the White House was hoping would dominate the cable chatter today.

Capito Passes

Per the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., has decided against a run for the U.S. Senate in the November special election to replace the late Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd.

Gov. Joe Manchin’s 24 hour-old candidacy finds itself with a potentially clearer path to victory and may not receive better news than that for the duration of the campaign.

Blago Balks

The man who couldn’t resist talking to anyone and everyone who would listen to his case over the last 20 months, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, has reversed course and decided against testifying in the federal corruption case currently before the court.

The Chicago Tribune has the latest on why Blago is a no-go.

New Numbers

Quinnipiac University is out with a new national poll today showing President Obama’s approval rating upside down. Among registered voters, 44 percent approve compared to 48 percent who disapprove.

Once again the numbers remind us how acute President Obama’s problem is with the independent voters who helped fuel his big victory in 2008. In this poll only 38 percent of independents surveyed said they approve of the president’s job performance, while a slim majority (52 percent) disapproves.

Korea: Past and Present

Per PBS NewsHour’s foreign affairs and defense editor Michael D. Mosettig:

“Secretaries Gates and Clinton are in Seoul, reviewing security agreements with the South Korean government. Their visit coincides with the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, in which more than 56,000 Americans, as well as hundreds of thousands of Koreans and Chinese, died.

“Forgotten in the later searing domestic convulsions during Vietnam, the Korean conflict was highly divisive in U.S. politics including President Truman’s dismissal of General MacArthur, a great test of civilian control of the military. The war ended in an armistice — still no peace treaty — six months after Republican Dwight Eisenhower recaptured the White House for the GOP after 20 years of Democratic control. Korea was a major issue in the ’52 election, and Ike’s promise ‘I will go to Korea’ was a key moment in his campaign and landslide victory.”