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President Barack Obama arrives on the South Lawn of the White House following a three day bus tour through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.

Top Talker: Bus Trip Over...Time for Vacation

08/18/11 10:06AM

 After finishing up his economic bus tour, President Obama is leaving today on his 10 day vacation to Martha's Vineyard.  His trip comes as the White House gives new details on the President's upcoming September jobs speech.  The Washington Post reports that the President's plan will include a new round of stimulus spending to spur job growth. read more

Must Read Op-Eds for August 18, 2011

08/18/11 09:03AM

THE GOP'S NON ROMNEY COMPETITION  BY KARL ROVEWALL STREET JOURNALBecause primaries tend to become binary contests, Mrs. Bachmann and Mr. Perry will now likely compete to be the "Not Romney" candidate. They can achieve dominance by attacking each other, attacking Mr. Romney, or attacking Mr. Obama while hyping their own records and values. The smartest course is the last... Twice since Saturday, Mr. Obama's approval rating in the Gallup daily tracking poll has hit 39%, his lowest mark so far. read more

Morning Headlines: Thursday, August 18th

08/18/11 05:54AM

Here's a look at the stories we're following right now. What are you reading this morning?Obama takes off for summer breakChristine O'Donnell walks out of CNN interviewSyria says crackdown is over but more deaths reported overnightTurkish warplanes hit Kurdish rebels in IraqBiden calls for deeper US-China tiesIndian activist wins right to fast in public, prepares to leave jail read more

Should the president take a vacation right about now?

08/17/11 02:04PM

Willie Geist: Mark, what do you make of this strategy over the last couple of days to go after Congress to talk about Washington as a place that he’s not a part of? What’s the strategy here?Mark Halperin: Well, I think this is mostly a placeholder to allow him to go on vacation without particularly Democrats being unhappy and some in the press that he’s not done enough to talk about jobs. Not done enough to frame the debate for the fall. We’re going to have a pretty intense September, October, November in the run up to the super commission trying to make some decisions. read more

Harry Shearer brings out Mr. Burns, Derek Smalls

08/17/11 10:41AM

Director, actor, Spinal Tap and Simpson's legend Harry Shearer talks with Morning Joe's Louis Burgdorf about his morning routine, not eating lunch. Louis even gets him to bring out Mr. Burns for a minute, and Shearer also mentions why Derek Smalls would never use a cucumber. read more

Must Read Op-Eds for August 17, 2011

08/17/11 08:13AM

TEXAS' MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE  BY HAROLD MEYERSONWASHINGTON POSTWhat Perry either ignores or doesn’t know is how greatly Texas has benefited from the investments and regulations of the federal government he despises... The cumulative effect of policies such as the federal minimum wage has been to diminish the disparity that long existed between the industrialized North and the more poverty-stricken South. read more