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The Morning Line: The Special Relationship

The British are coming. British Prime Minister David Cameron makes his first official visit to Washington on Tuesday and has a packed schedule, including breakfast with Vice President Joe Biden, an Oval Office chat with President Obama and a 2 p.m. EDT press conference in the East Room with the president.

Cameron will also head to Capitol Hill to meet with congressional leadership, including with the New York and New Jersey senators who want a full explanation of BP’s role in lobbying to get Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi released from prison last year.

In fact, between the oil spill and the Lockerbie controversy, BP will be atop the prime minister’s agenda in Washington. Of course, Afghanistan, Iran, the Middle East and the global economy will no doubt be central in his talks with President Obama today.

Manchin’s Moment

Democrats in West Virginia caved to Republican demands that a candidate be permitted to run for the regularly scheduled general election on November 2 as well as the special election taking place on the same day to complete the remainder of Sen. Robert Byrd’s term. This means the top GOP prospect for the Senate seat, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, now may now run for two offices concurrently should she choose to do so.

With the special legislative session on the special election behind him, Gov. Joe Manchin plans to announce his intentions (read: he’s running) for the Byrd seat on Tuesday at a 10 a.m. EDT press conference.

The Kagan Nomination

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote Tuesday on Elena Kagan’s nomination to be the next justice on the Supreme Court. Democrats far outnumber Republicans on the committee, and there is no doubt that the nomination will be passed and moved to the Senate floor for a final vote.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham was the lone Republican to join Democrats on the Judiciary Committee when it voted for Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination last year. All eyes are on Graham to see if he will vote with the Democrats again.

The Bellwether

Any television producer working on the 2010 midterm elections will want to save this for the inevitable “Is Obama a Drag on Democrats?” pieces to air this fall.

Rep. Roy Blunt, R- Mo., is out with a new ad starring President Obama (in grainy black-and-white footage) headlining a fundraiser for his Democratic opponent, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. In the ad, the president pleads the crowd to send him another vote in the U.S. Senate.

Missouri was the closest state in the 2008 presidential election when Sen. John McCain eked out a win by fewer than 4,000 votes.

We probably won’t see ads like this from Carly Fiorina in California or from Linda McMahon in Connecticut, who are both running for senate seats.

But in a purplish-to-red state like Missouri where President Obama’s numbers are weak, Blunt appears to make a calculation that whatever the president can do for Carnahan in terms of fundraising and exciting the base, he can neutralize and turn to his advantage on television with the broader electorate.


Tuesday may be the first day in the last two years that Rod Blagojevich’s words may have actual meaning and impact.

“The former governor could take the stand as early as this afternoon, when he is expected to tell the jury that — despite all the outlandish things they heard in secretly recorded conversations during the government’s case — he never intended to do anything illegal,” reports the Chicago Tribune.

Voters Voting

Polls close Tuesday at 7 p.m. EDT in Georgia, where primary voters are casting their ballots. Karen Handel, the only female gubernatorial contender on the Republican ballot, heads into the primary as the favorite, but she’s unlikely to acquire the 50 percent required to avoid an August 10 runoff.

Former Gov. Roy Barnes is expected to get the Democratic nomination in his effort to get his old job back. Barnes is one of five former governors across the country seeking their old jobs.

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