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1:15 PM ET, September 2, 2009


 Top Items: 
The Politico:
Under fire, Obama shifts strategy  —  Aides to President Barack Obama are putting the final touches on a new strategy to help Democrats recover from a brutal August recess by specifying what Obama wants to see in a compromise health care deal and directly confronting other trouble spots, West Wing officials tell POLITICO.
Ken Boehm / National Legal and Policy Center:
Obama White House Has Secret Plan To Harvest Personal Data From Social Networking Websites  —  NLPC has uncovered a plan by the White House New Media operation to hire a technology vendor to conduct a massive, secret effort to harvest personal information on millions of Americans from social networking websites.
Tony Romm / The Hill:
Obama adviser: Republicans are “a**holes”  —  A video in which White House green jobs adviser Van Jones calls Congressional Republicans (and himself) “a**holes” is quickly making the rounds on the Internet this morning.  —  Jones made the off-the-cuff remark in February …
Discussion: Gateway Pundit
Ed Morrissey / Hot Air:
Does Obama plan to spy on social-networking sites?  —  Today's rumor of presidential overreach starts at the National Legal and Policy Center and the Drudge Report, which has launched a slew of e-mails about official spying on social-networking sites.  The NLPC found an RFP from FedBizOpps …
George Stephanopoulos / George's Bottom Line:
The 5 key Strategy Questions the White House is Considering on Health Care
Elaine Quijano / CNN:
Obama considers major speech on health care
Discussion: TalkLeft and Reuters
Jackie Calmes / New York Times:
Obama Plans More Direct Push on Health Overhaul
Discussion: Washington Post and Raw Story
Vanity Fair:
Levi Johnston: “Me and Mrs. Palin”  —  Left, photograph by Nigel Parry/CPi Syndication.  Right, photograph by Mark Seliger.  —  Three days after Sarah Palin was announced as the Republican vice-presidential candidate, the McCain campaign released a statement saying that her 17-year-old unwed daughter, Bristol, was pregnant.
Mark Halperin / The Page:   Excerpts from Levi Johnston's Vanity Fair Interview
Ralph Z. Hallow / Washington Times:
Gov. Sanford says God on his side  —  Shaken by absence of GOP support  —  Embattled South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford acknowledged Tuesday that he has been shaken by the failure of a single fellow Republican to back him in his fight to save his job, but vowed to fight on for conservative causes and for …
Discussion: The Hill and Shakesville
Valerie Bauerlein / Wall Street Journal:
Shamed Governor Battles to Save Job  —  ORANGEBURG, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, stung by political attacks over his extramarital affair with an Argentine woman, said in his first extended interview since June that he no longer wants to “crawl into a cave” and will fight to keep …
Peter Hamby / CNN:
Sanford: Now I know what Palin felt like
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Pelosi will let Rangel hold post despite latest allegations  —  Speaker Nancy Pelosi will let Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) keep his chairmanship despite his failing to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets on federal disclosure forms, according to Democratic aides.
New York Post:
Discussion: Instapundit
Scott Mayerowitz / ABCNEWS:
Charles Gibson to Retire from ‘World News’  —  Diane Sawyer Will Replace ‘World News’ Anchor in January  —  Charles Gibson, who has served as anchor of “World News” since May of 2006, announced this morning that he will step down from the post at the end of this year and retire from full-time employment at ABC News.
The Politico:   Sawyer to replace Gibson at ABC
Mark Sherman / Associated Press:
Justice Stevens slows his hiring at high court  —  WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has hired fewer law clerks than usual, generating speculation that the leader of the court's liberals will retire next year.  —  If Stevens does step down, he would give President Barack Obama …
Pew Research Center:
Congressional Favorability at 24-Year Low  —  Midterm Voting Intentions Evenly Divided  —  Americans are extremely displeased with Congress, and there are already some signs that this could take a toll on the Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections.  Currently, 37% express a favorable opinion …
Washington Wire:   Poll Points to Dangers Ahead for Congressional Democrats
Carl Hulse / New York Times:
Conservative Democrats Expect a Health Deal  —  WASHINGTON — Like her colleagues, Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, a South Dakota Democrat and leader of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, has been weathering the summer of health care discontent.
Charles Franklin /
How Fast Does Approval Fall?  —  David Brooks commented in his column yesterday “All presidents fall from their honeymoon highs, but in the history of polling, no newly elected American president has fallen this far this fast.”  Mostly right, sort of.  But some context would help.
Deborah Solomon / Wall Street Journal:
U.S. Economy Gets Lift From Stimulus  —  WASHINGTON — Government efforts to funnel hundreds of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy appear to be helping the U.S. climb out of the worst recession in decades.  —  But there's little agreement about which programs are having the biggest impact.
Peter Baker / New York Times:
A Real Fairy-Tale Wedding  —  WASHINGTON - Here's a newsflash: Chelsea Clinton did not get married last month in a swank, celebrity-laden wedding on Martha's Vineyard attended by the president of the United States.  —  For four months, the Clintons have told anyone who would listen …
Boston Herald:
Pol nabbed on New Hampshire booze run  —  A Westport lawmaker who voted to hike the state sales and alcohol taxes was spotted brazenly piling booze in his car - adorned with his State House license plate - in the parking lot of a tax-free New Hampshire liquor store, the Herald has learned.
Discussion: JammieWearingFool
Jules Crittenden:
Pay As We Say  —  Not as we do.  Actually, that probably should be …
Discussion: Snapped Shot
Karen DeYoung / Washington Post:
Taliban Surprising U.S. Forces With Improved Tactics  —  The Taliban has become a much more potent adversary in Afghanistan by improving its own tactics and finding gaps in the U.S. military playbook, according to senior American military officials who acknowledged that the enemy's resurgence this year has taken them by surprise.
Heidi Przybyla / Bloomberg:
Corzine, Deeds Electoral Weakness Reflects Obama's Lower Rating  —  Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama won't be on the ballot in New Jersey and Virginia when those states hold the nation's only governor's races in November.  His policies likely will be.
Amy Harder / National Journal Online:
Shifting Alliances Define Energy Debate  —  By Playing Both Sides On The Climate Bill, Energy Companies Muddy The Lobbying Landscape  —  UPDATE (Sept. 2, 9:44 a.m.): Duke Energy left the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy on Tuesday over differences with “influential member companies …
Julian E. Barnes / Los Angeles Times:
U.S. to boost combat force in Afghanistan  —  Support units will be replaced by up to 14,000 ‘trigger-pullers,’ and noncombat posts will be contracted out, Defense officials say.  The swap will allow the U.S. to keep its troop level unchanged.  —  U.S. troops patrol in Kunar province.
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 More Items: 
Glenn Thrush / Glenn Thrush's Blog:
Vitter thanks activist for raising death panels
Boston Globe:
Health overhaul may ride on tactic
Discussion: The Huffington Post
Andrew Porter / Telegraph:
Britain facing blackouts for first time since 1970s
Tom Coburn / Wall Street Journal:
What I Learned From the ‘Mob’
 Earlier Items: 
Los Angeles Times:
Hostages of the Hermit Kingdom
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:
“Minor Revolution”