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On his hundredth day, President Obama thanked Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter for switching parties. Will Specter be a better Democrat than he was a Republican? Has the GOP gone so far right that it can't appeal to the centrists and independents who decide most elections? Also, vaccines and variations in the Swine Flu outbreak, and the eight-nation Arctic Council is meeting in Norway with the US calling for "win-win approaches" to the consequences of rapid ice-melting.

Banner image: Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) speaks (C) during a press conference welcoming him to the Democratic Party as speaks as President Barack Obama (L) and Vice President Joe Biden listen at the White House. Photo: Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images

Making News Vaccines and Variations in the Swine Flu Outbreak 7 MIN, 31 SEC

The first death from swine flu in the US has been confirmed. A 23-month old infant, brought from Mexico for treatment, died Monday in Houston, Texas. Dr. Richard Besser, Acting Director of the Centers for Disease Control, said there have been 51 confirmed cases in New York, 41 more in nine other states, with only five people having been hospitalized. On her first day in office, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius talked about development of a vaccine that is both safe and effective. Bryan Walsh is covering the story for Time magazine.

Bryan Walsh, Time magazine (@bryanrwalsh)

The Second Civil War

Ron Brownstein

Main Topic Specter's 100th Day Gift to Obama, Defection to Democrats 35 MIN, 24 SEC

obama.jpgPresident Obama went to St. Louis, Missouri today to mark his hundredth day in office. He reviewed his accomplishments and said it would take hard work to achieve the rest of his goals. Yesterday, he got a boost in that direction when Arlen Specter switched parties. Or did he? The Pennsylvania Senator drove a hard bargain, and skeptics say he’ll be no more reliable as a Democrat than he was as a Republican. But, while Specter might have been a Republican in name only, is he leaving a party that’s now so ideologically pure its nominees can’t win general elections?

White House photo: Pete Sauza

Ron Brownstein, Atlantic / CNN (@RonBrownstein)
Thomas Edsall, Columbia School of Journalism (@Edsall)
Reihan Salam, National Review / The Atlantic (@reihan)
Jon McHenry, Partner, Ayres, McHenry and Associates
Dick Polman, Political Writer, Philadelphia Inquirer

Grand New Party

Reihan Salam

Reporter's Notebook Northern Leaders Discuss Arctic Melt 7 MIN, 46 SEC

With Arctic ice melting faster than ever, former Vice President Al Gore was in Tromso, Norway this week as the US and seven other countries are meeting to hash out their differences over territory and natural resources. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg says the US wants what he calls “win-win approaches that benefit everybody” as the melting creates new problems and new opportunities. John Vidal is back in London after covering the Arctic Council for the Guardian.

John Vidal, Guardian newspaper (@john_vidal)

Building Red America

Thomas Edsall

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