Mark Halperin’s three things to watch for in politics for Monday, July 13.
1. Watch as Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings begin today. Watch to see how Republicans behave in and around the hearings to show they’re not just bowing to President Obama and the Democrats’ desire for an uncritical confirmation process in the days and weeks to come. They also need to be careful not to seem to be unfair in their treatment of a nominee who is assumed to be headed down a pretty smooth path to confirmation. Watch to see if there are any surprises from the Senators questioning Sotomayor or from the judge herself.
2. Watch the White House’s efforts on health care now that the president is back from his overseas trip. Watch to see what he and his team do in the coming days to try to jumpstart progress on the touchier parts of a potential plan, including how to pay for it and whether it will include a public option.
3. Watch to see if there are any major distractions from the White House’s efforts on health care. It needs to rally public opinion and keep the focus on getting a plan through in the coming months, but other issues seem to have the potential to emerge, including some civil liberties issues dating back to the Bush administration. Watch to see whether the White House is able to maintain the focus they need on health care or find themselves forced to divert attention to other issues.