National Journal Online

Senate Unanimously Endorses Panetta for Defense Secretary

The Senate has unanimously confirmed outgoing C.I.A. chief Leon Panetta to replace Robert Gates as secretary of defense on July 1, according to Reuters. Given that the vote was 100-0, you can imagine that this was a bit of a love fest. CNN notes that "senators from both sides of the aisle offered effusive praise" for Panetta, who received bipartisan backing during his confirmation hearing earlier in June.

Posted: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 5:40pm

U.S. Troop Levels and Fatalities in Afghanistan


Total U.S. troops in Afghanistan, October 2001 to June 2011

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Posted: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 5:40pm

Mark Kelly, Giffords's Astronaut Husband, to Retire

Capt. Mark Kelly, the astronaut husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., said on Tuesday that he will retire from the Navy and from NASA to spend more time with his wife.

Kelly, a veteran of four space shuttle missions, announced his decision on his Facebook page; NASA later confirmed it.

"We know that Mark will continue to do great things for his country no matter what he chooses to do next. He has helped us build a space program poised to take advantage of the many opportunities in our bright future."

Posted: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 5:40pm

White House Swaps Applause for Laughter at Obama's Job Boast

Attention conservative blogosphere: the White House would like to set the record straight about a little parenthetical in a recent transcript. Late yesterday, you see, the White House posted Obama's recent remarks to the Democratic National Committee, which included this line: "Over the last 15 months we've created over 2.1 million private sector jobs. (Laughter.)."

Posted: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 5:40pm

Biden Group Breaks from First Session in Week-Long Press

Assistant House Minority Leader James Clyburn, D-S.C., one of six lawmakers led by Vice President Joe Biden working on a plan to raise the debt ceiling, said on Tuesday he doesn’t favor a short-term increase in the debt limit that would require Congress to revisit the issue before the 2012 election.

“I would hope we... won’t piecemeal it,” Clyburn said upon emerging from a meeting of the group, the first session of an intensive week-long press to get a deal. They are set to meet Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, and tentatively scheduled to meet Friday morning.

Posted: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 5:40pm

Carney: Obama Has Made Up His Mind on Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal

President Obama met with his national security staff and finalized his decision about the size and scope of the immediate troop drawdown in Afghanistan on Tuesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. Obama is expected to unveil his decision in an 8 p.m. speech from the White House on Wednesday night.

Posted: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 5:40pm

PICTURES: 10 News Events That Called Us Back From Summer Vacation

Don’t let anyone tell you Washington is slow in the summer. Big news has a way of happening just when political watchers have powered off their smart phones and gone in search of solitude. On the first day of summer, we’re tracking the biggest events that changed the game and baffled those left napping on the beach.

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Posted: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 5:40pm

Glitch Exposed in Obama Health Care Plan

An anomaly in the complex Obama health care plan may mean that 3 million additional people could qualify for Medicare benefits when the law takes effect in 2014.

Posted: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 5:40pm

Harpootlian Mocks Huntsman As A Republican Imposter

South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Dick Harpootlian derided former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Tuesday as a Republican imposter in advance of a Wednesday visit by the newly minted presidential candidate.

Posted: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 5:40pm

Gingrich Senior Fundraisers Quit

An official with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's campaign confirmed Tuesday that two members of the fundraising team, including the fundraising director, have left the campaign, another blow to the former House speaker's already struggling White House bid.

The departures were first reported by the Associated Press.

Hammond vowed that the campaign will go on. Gingrich has scheduled an appearance in Iowa this Saturday.

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Posted: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 1:40pm