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Week Ahead: No July 4th rest for campaigns

Congress is off, but there's plenty of 2010 campaigning going on. Obama heads to Missouri and Nevada, Biden heads to California for Boxer, DeMint to Colorado for Buck, NGA kicks off, Netanyahu to the White House after trip was rescheduled because of the Gaza flotilla incident.


Because of the July 4th holiday, Congress has off for the week. We'll still be here at First Read, for most of the week anyway, keeping an eye on things.

As early as Tuesday the Justice Department could file its lawsuit challenging Arizona's new immigration law.

A week after meeting with the Saudi King, President Obama meets with Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, at the White House. The meeting was rescheduled after Netanyahu canceled a trip to Washington a month ago because of the controversy over Israel's handling of a flotilla of ships headed for Gaza, in which 19 people died.

Also Tuesday, the funeral in Arlington, VA, for the late Sen. Robert Byrd takes place. The West Virginia Democrat, who was the longest-serving member of Congress, was 92.

On Thursday, President Obama is back on the road. He'll be in Kansas City for another town hall on the economy. He'll also raise money for Senate hopeful Robin Carnahan. Carnahan, Missouri's secretary of state, is running against Congressman Roy Blunt for that competitive open seat.

Vice President Biden also plays 2010 politics. He goes to California to help raise money for Sen. Barbara Boxer. President Obama has already done two fundraisers for her this year.

Her California seat should be a safe one for Democrats. If it's not, then Republicans could come close to taking back control of the Senate. The GOP needs to flip a whopping 10 seats to do that.

One thing threatening Republicans' chances, though, is the much-discussed intraparty ideological rift. That will be on display Thursday in Colorado, another competitive Senate seat. Sen. Jim DeMint, the South Carolina Republican who has become a conservative kingmaker this cycle, campaigns for Ken Buck.

Buck, a district attorney, who gained recognition in conservative circles for his attempts at arresting illegal immigrants in 2008, has, well, bucked, the establishment. National Republicans prefer Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, who they view as a stronger general-election candidate against Democrat Michael Bennet, the appointed sitting senator.

Speaking of competitive seats, on Friday, President Obama heads to Nevada to campaign for Harry Reid. We've said plenty of times that the Senate majority leader is one of the most vulnerable incumbents this fall. That's still true, but Reid's chances have improved, because of controversial positions held by his Republican opponent Sharron Angle. Angle has also had trouble raising money.

Also Friday, in Boston, the nation's governors kick off their annual meeting, which will run through the weekend.