Mark Halperin’s Three Things

Mark Halperin’s three things to watch for in politics for Thursday, May 21.

1. Watch to see the substance of President Obama’s big national security speech. He’s speaking from the National Archives at 10:10 am ET to give the country a sense of how he wants to deal with complicated issues of national security and civil liberties, including the closure of Gitmo and . Watch to see if he lays out any new policy in this speech and watch to see how he does it. Normally when Obama gives a big speech he rises to the occasion, so watch to see if he does today.

2. Watch to see the framing that the press gives to Obama’s speech in connection with former Vice President Cheney’s speech on the same issues, scheduled to shortly after the president speaks. There’s been a lot of buildup to the two men speaking on the same issues at roughly the same time, so watch to if the press equates the two speeches in some way and focuses on the ideas and arguments that both men share or if they simply focus on the political battle.

3. Watch to see the reaction to the president’s speech, particularly from the left and members of Congress. There will certainly be predictable reactions of support and opposition from both sides of the aisle, but watch for any unexpected responses to what Obama has to say. Also watch to see whether people on the left begin to accept the president’s policies or whether they continue to be highly critical, suggesting he’s supporting policies more in line with the Bush administration than he promised during the campaign.

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