US President Barack Obama (R) toasts with his Czech Republic’s counterpart Vaclav Klaus (C) and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev after signing the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in Prague on April 8, 2010. JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
–Obama and Medvedev signed the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty today in Prague. The Senate will have to ratify it with 67 votes.
—Peter Baker: “Meeting here in the heart of a once-divided Europe, the two leaders put aside the acrimony that has characterized Russian-American ties in recent years as they agreed to bring down their arsenals and restore an inspection regime that expired in December. Along the way, they sidestepped unresolved disputes over missile defense and other issues.”
–Hillary Clinton has an op-ed on the agreement running in papers across Europe.
–The Southern Republican Leadership Conference kicks off in New Orleans. The biggest names aren’t up yet, but Liz Cheney and Newt Gingrich will probably get some attention today. You can follow along on C-SPAN.
–Of note: Romney and Pawlenty are both skipping the confabulation. T-Paw is expected to video conference in, while Romney is working political dinners on his presidential campaign book tour in New Hampshire.
–CATO’s case against a VAT.
—Stan Collender points out the incongruity in this YouGov /Economist survey on deficit reduction. Sixty-two percent say they favor spending reduction (over tax hikes), but few people actually want to slash specific programs. The only area in which a majority want cuts — in fact the only area in which more than 30 percent want cuts — is foreign aid. Goody, that’s <1% of the budget all taken care of. It’s not news that the politics of deficit reduction are toxic — few issues spark as much resistance as entitlement reform, tax increases, etc. — but it will be interesting to see if there’s a tipping point.
–AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka gave a fascinating speech last night at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government decrying hate, but embracing public anger and trying to bring it back into the fold of working-class union liberalism. A taste:
That progressive tradition has drawn its strength from an alliance of the poor and the middle class—everyone who works for a living. But the alliance between working people and public minded intellectuals is also crucial—it is all about standing up to entrenched economic power and the complacency of the affluent. It’s an alliance that depends on intellectuals being critics, and not the servants, of economic privilege.
–I’m a bit late getting to this, but Marco Rubio raised a stunning $3.6 million in the first quarter. It’s a testament not only to his quick transformation into a national figure, but to Jim DeMint’s ability to raise dollars and profiles. I’m curious to know how much of Rubio’s haul came from outside Florida. Here’s some Sunlight Foundation data on out-of-state donations to Rubio.
–As far as the obligatory ’12 buzz stories go, Mark Murray notes he’s untested. I think timing is the biggest issue. Whatever incredible series of events might unfold, he would only have two years. Obama, he of remarkable skill and luck, had four.
–And the Crist-as-independent speculation continues.
What did I miss?