NBC's Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube reported yesterday, "U.S. military and administration officials tell NBC News that President Obama is expected to announce that more than half of the American troops will be withdrawn from Iraq within 19 months. The plan, expected to be announced later this week, would draw down the number of forces from the current 142,000 to around 50,000."
More: "Although the plan falls short of Obama's campaign pledge to withdraw all U.S. combat forces from Iraq within 16 months, one senior military official said, 'It's close.' The official also points out, however, that the remaining force of 50,000 would still contain a sizeable 'combat element' to provide rapid reaction assistance to Iraqi combat forces and force protection for the remaining American troops and U.S. government civilians. The sources say the 19-month timetable was one of three options presented to President Obama for the withdrawal of forces – 16-, 19- and 23-month withdrawal plans. A senior military official said that it was up to President Obama to weigh the risks in withdrawal and 'the shorter the timetable the greater the risk,' to U.S. forces and Iraqi security."
The Washington Post on the troop withdrawal: "Obama has not made a final decision on the matter, but it could come during a trip to give a speech in North Carolina on Friday, the officials said."
The New York Times: "Mr. Obama's advisers said they believed they had reached an accommodation that would satisfy both the military and a public eager to get out of Iraq, while relieving the strain on the armed forces and freeing up resources for Afghanistan."
A Treasury official tells First Read that Secretary Geithner today will announce that first-time homebuyers can start applying for the expanded $8,000 tax credit made available in the stimulus law.
The AP: "President Barack Obama intends to nominate former Washington Gov. Gary Locke to be commerce secretary on Wednesday in his third try to fill the job."