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Defense Secretary Gates says cutting the F-22 jet fighter was "not even a close call,” but the project provides jobs in no less than 44 of the 50 states. We hear about upcoming battles over a defense budget that reorients the Pentagon from conventional warfare to counterinsurgency.  Also, President Obama is in Iraq, where he's greeted warmly by US troops, and Vermont is the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage, and the first to do so with a vote by the legislature. 

Banner image of F-22: John Possino/Lockheed Martin

Making News Obama's Unscheduled Visit to Iraq 5 MIN, 47 SEC

President Obama went to Iraq today, where he was wildly cheered by American troops when he said it's time for Iraqis to "take responsibility for their country."  He praised the soldiers for what he called the "extraordinary achievement" of giving Iraq "the opportunity to stand on its own as a democratic country."  The President is being covered by a pool reporter. Leila Fadel is Baghdad Bureau Chief for the McClatchy newspapers.

Leila Fadel, Washington Post (@LeilaFadel)

Main Topic Gates Calls for a Major Overhaul in Defense Spending 35 MIN, 39 SEC

gates.jpgYesterday was supposed to be "bloody Monday" for the defense industry, but its stocks rallied as Defense Secretary Gates outlined his latest budget. The US spends more on the military services, arms and equipment than the rest of the world's nations combined. Despite cuts in high-profile projects, Pentagon spending may go up, because, as one analyst said, "For everything they took away, they added something else." The debate will be about conventional warfare versus counterinsurgencies like those in Iraq and Afghanistan, and about jobs in congressional districts.

Image: Marine Gen. James Cartwright (R), vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, answers a question during yesterday's press conference with Defense Secretary Gates. DoD photo: Cherie Cullen

Spencer Ackerman, Daily Beast (@attackerman)
Winslow Wheeler, Center for Defense Information
Richard Aboulafia, Analyst, Teal Group
John Nagl, President, Center for a New American Security

Reporter's Notebook Vermont Legislators Override Governor, Legalize Gay Marriage 7 MIN, 4 SEC

In Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa, courts have ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. Today in Vermont, it was the legislature, overruling a veto by Governor Jim Douglas. In the Senate, the vote was 23 to 5; in the House, 100 to 49, just the two-thirds required to override a veto. In Washington, DC, where domestic partnerships are legal, the city council voted today to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. Bill Lippert, an openly gay legislator in Vermont's House of Representatives, is Chair of its House Judiciary Committee, which brought the bill to the floor.

Bill Lippert, State Legislator, Vermont House of Representatives

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