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Congressional votes today and tomorrow will help set the stage for next year's election campaigns. We hear about Medicare, taxes, women's rights and deficit reduction. Also, agricultural interests in Iowa, Florida, Minnesota and Idaho want undercover investigations of animal treatment to be made illegal. Would that protect farmers' privacy by preventing disclosure of what consumers and food inspectors ought to know?

Banner image: President Obama reviews his fiscal policy speech with Rob Nabors, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs; Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner; National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling; Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew; and Director of Speechwriting Jon Favreau. Official White House photo: Pete Souza, April 13, 2011

Making News Presidential Campaigns Get Going 7 MIN, 32 SEC

The presidential election is not until next year, but President Obama has begun his campaign, without having a primary to worry about. Meantime, a crowd of Republicans -- including Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Tim Pawlenty-- is approaching the starting line. Jeff Zeleny reports on politics for the New York Times.

Jeff Zeleny, New York Times (@jeffzeleny)

Main Topic Is a 'Great Debate' Finally Beginning? 36 MIN, 3 SEC

Last week, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan said the Republicans' plan to reduce the deficit would restructure entitlement programs and cut taxes. Yesterday, President Obama said he'd reduce the deficit by increasing taxes on the richest Americans and keeping entitlement programs as they are. But each plan carries risks for the author as well as the opposition, and both parties are struggling to maintain a united front. In the last two days before a two-week recess, is Congress setting the stage for compromise or a bloody political battle leading to next year's elections?

James Oliphant, Chicago Tribune
Avik Roy, Bipartisan Policy Center / Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (@Avik)
Ezra Klein, Vox (@ezraklein)
Joseph J. Thorndike, Tax Analysts

Reporter's Notebook States Seek to Ban Undercover Videos of Farm Abuse 6 MIN, 58 SEC

Sometimes shocking images showing how farm animals are mistreated have led to meat recalls, slaughterhouse closings and even criminal convictions, along with apologies from executives of agricultural firms. In Iowa, Florida, Idaho and Minnesota, the industry is fighting back with efforts to make such investigations illegal. Wayne Pacelle is president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, and author of The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them.

Wayne Pacelle, Humane Society of the United States (@HumaneSociety)

The Bond

Wayne Pacelle


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