Mark Halperin’s Three Things

Mark Halperin’s three things to watch for in presidential politics for Tuesday, July 1:

1) Watch as Barack Obama talks about faith and faith-based organizations in Ohio today. The Chicagoan is expected to express support for the Bush Administration’s program steering federal social service dollars to religious groups. It is also expected that the Senator will back religious groups’ ability to hire and fire based on faith. This is a very big topic and a very big speech. Watch to see how the press coverage shakes out and what Obama says. Watch to see how the McCain campaign reacts.

2) Keep an eye on John McCain as he leaves for his foreign trip today. The Arizonan will land in Cartagena, Colombia this evening at 6:50 pm ET as part of a three-day trip to Latin America. He plans to meet with President Uribe, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Trade, the Minister of Mines and Energy, the Vice Foreign Minister, Ambassador Brownfield and Ambassador Barco. The Senator will emphasize a range of issues including trade. Watch to see how McCain frames these issues as he departs on a trip that some people think is maybe a mistaken use of his time.

3) Finally, in the news today—guns. According to The Politico, the NRA is devoting $15 million this fall toward portraying Obama as a threat to the Second Amendment rights upheld last week by the Supreme Court. Also be on the lookout as gay marriage is in the news as well today. Both gay marriage and gun rights are issues that could be potentially toxic for Obama in the south. Watch to see how that swirl ends by the end of the day.

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