Morning Must Reads

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-BP chief Tony Hayward — a guy who can seem blithely dismissive of the damage that his company has wrought — admits the obvious: the oil giant lacked proper techniques to combat a spill of this magnitude. The Post’s Peter Whoriskey surveys the potential economic impact on the Gulf economy, and the findings are not encouraging. At the 45-day mark, frustration with BP’s inability to stop the spill has grown so intense that a spokeswoman for the Department of Energy had to shoot down the suggestion that the well be nuked shut. Meanwhile, BP’s credit rating has been downgraded. And yet, the company’s board is still backing Hayward’s performance–for now.

-Arguing that the Gulf Coast oil spill has underlined the importance of clean energy, President Obama made a robust case for climate-change legislation during a speech at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. In this week’s magazine, TIME’s Bryan Walsh files from Venice, La., on the spreading catastrophe and its worst-case scenarios.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs denied that the White House offered a job to Colorado Democratic Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff to enable incumbent Senator Michael Bennet to sidestep a dangerous primary. In a statement released early this morning, Gibbs gives the Administration’s side: Romanoff applied for a job during the presidential transition, and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina reached out to Romanoff last fall to gauge whether he was still interested. While he denied the existence of a firm offer, Gibbs acknowledged the political calculation behind the overture: “Months earlier, the President had endorsed Senator Michael Bennet for the Colorado seat, and Messina wanted to determine if it was possible to avoid a costly battle between two supporters.” Romanoff’s statement largely corroborates this account. Michael argued yesterday that this seems like a non-controversy, and Paul Begala mocks the response as overheated: “Is anyone shocked that a politician offered to give a political job to a politician who helped him politically?…Oh, my, I’m getting the vapors.” But in the wake of the Sestak situation, the GOP will keep milking this for as long as they can.

-Through the eyes of activists, the Journal sketches the scene aboard one of the ships in the Gaza-bound flotilla. In the face of mounting pressure, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected calls to ease the blockade of Gaza and dismissed criticism over the incident. “This wasn’t a ‘Love Boat.’ This was a hate boat,” he said. The U.S. was one of three nations to vote against a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution to authorize an independent investigation. TIME’s Tony Karon parses the diplomatic fallout, while Martin Indyk sees a silver lining–if the Obama Administration can play its cards right.

-State governors and school chiefs rolled out new national standards for English and math proficiency. The New York Times‘ Sam Dillon explains what’s at stake in the initiative:” The Obama administration hopes that states will quickly adopt the new standards in place of the hodgepodge of current state benchmarks, which vary so significantly that it is impossible to compare test scores from different states. The United States is one of the few developed countries that lacks national standards for its public schools.”

-Jury selection begins in the Blagojevich trial. Monica Davey explains why the circus could taint prominent Democrats.

-The plight of Arlen Specter and Parker Griffiths underscored the peril of party-switching in this polarized political environment. Now, in another rebuke to electoral opportunists, New York Republicans denied Suffolk County Exec Steve Levy — a Democrat-turned-Republican backed by state GOP leader Edward Cox — a spot on the ballot for the gubernatorial race. Rick Lazio looks set to take on Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in what is shaping up as a mismatch.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer will sit down with the President this afternoon to discuss SB1070, of which Obama has been highly critical. The powwow comes at an inauspicious time for Brewer, who was embroiled in controversy earlier this week when she falsely claimed her father died in the European theater during World War II. (Brewer’s camp — like Mark Kirk’s and Richard Blumenthal’s — essentially dismissed the controversy as a misunderstanding stemming from imprecise language.)

-Adam Cohen has a piece on the Supreme Court’s stance on Miranda rights.

-Former President George W. Bush defends waterboarding KSM: “I’d do it again to save lives.”

-And today’s quick off-topic blast: In an unfortunate moment for the men in blue, MLB umpire Jim Joyce’s blown call thwarts Detroit hurler Armando Galarraga’s bid for history’s 21st perfect game.

What did I miss?