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Feb 15, 2013
Senate Blocks Hagel Nomination - For NowBy Susan Davis and David Jackson, USA Today
Republicans delayed Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel's confirmation Thursday for at least one week, citing concerns that senators have not had enough time to review his nomination.Read more
Obama Holds Forth in Google Chat, Rips CongressBy Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics
President Obama blasted senators Thursday for orchestrating a filibuster to block the confirmation of his embattled Pentagon nominee, former Sen. Chuck Hagel. He accused lawmakers of being overtly political in continuing to demand documents about the attacks in Benghazi. And he said some members of Congress are motivated by re-election and won’t tackle climate change.Read more
Can Marco Rubio Live Up to the Hype?By Beth Reinhard, National Journal
The freshman senator from Florida had joined four veteran colleagues to unveil a proposal for the first major overhaul of immigration law in a quarter-century. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., introduced “my friend, Senator [Marco] Rubio, who obviously is a new but incredibly important voice in this whole issue of immigration reform.”Read more
Senate Democrats Propose Cuts, Tax Hikes on Rich to Avoid SequesterBy Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post
With another fiscal deadline just two weeks away, Senate Democrats on Thursday announced a plan to protect the Pentagon and other federal agencies from deep, automatic spending cuts in part by raising taxes on millionaires.Read more
Four Key Questions for Health-Care LawBy David Wessel, Wall Street Journal
Thanks to the Supreme Court and Barack Obama's re-election, the Affordable Care Act—"Obamacare" to foes and a few of its friends—isn't going away. The issue now is how it will work.
Even by Washington standards, implementing this law is extraordinarily complex. The federal government last year issued 70,000 pages of guidance, including 130 pages on the look of websites for new marketplaces where many will shop for insurance.Read more
Feb 14, 2013
What Mitt Romney Can Teach Marco RubioBy John Dickerson, Slate Magazine
What's worse for your political ambitions, being labeled a wimp by Newsweek or a savior by Time? Marco Rubio, the freshman senator from Florida, has been stuck with the savior label and it has several disadvantages. It makes allies suspicious, irritates your rivals, and perhaps worst of all: When you're a savior, people expect you to perform miracles.Read more
Questions Linger After Obama's SpeechBy Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics
When President Obama’s hour-long State of the Union address was over Tuesday night, three basic questions lingered surrounding his list of incentives and partnerships and “we can get this done!” admonitions.Read more
Another Day, Another GOP Attempt to Rebrand the PartyBy Beth Reinhard, National Journal
Just what the world needs: another super PAC?
NewRepublican.org is the brainchild of GOP consultant and CNN pundit Alex Castellanos, whose clients have included Mitt Romney and former President George W. Bush. Castellanos is joining a growing cottage industry of Republicans who are trying to rebrand and rebuild the party as President Obama begins his second term. He points to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal as role models,
“If you are tired of the old, slow, dumb, top-down Washington way of doing things, you are thinking like a new Republican,” Castellanos said, describing his new initiative as a “super PAC marries a think tank.”Read more
Congress Has No Clear Path to Avoid Broad Budget CutsBy Susan Davis, USA Today
A divided Congress will take next week off and then return to a familiar conflict: a looming, self-inflicted budget deadline that threatens economic stability with no resolution in sight on how to resolve it.Read more
Growth Isn’t Enough to Help the Middle ClassBy Jim Tankersley, The Washington Post
Two kinds of middle-class Americans are struggling today — people who can’t find any work or enough work, and full-timers who can’t seem to get ahead.
Democrats and Republicans prescribe economic growth to help both groups. There was a time that would have been enough. But not today.Read more
Senate Democrats, Accusing G.O.P. of Obstruction, Try to Force Hagel VoteBy Mark Mazzetti and Jeremy W. Peters, The New York Times
Accusing Republicans of a new level of obstruction, Senate Democrats moved on Wednesday to force a vote on President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense.Read more
Feb 13, 2013
Obama's Wish ListBy John Dickerson, Slate Magazine
The president's State of the Union address was more than 6,000 words, but its message to voters could fit inside a single tweet: I am full of ideas that will directly affect your life, but these people in the audience are blocking them. The president brought a ton of proposals on Tuesday night: universal preschool, tax reform, immigration reform, a minimum wage increase, a cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions, infrastructure investments, new housing incentives, manufacturing incentives, energy plans, a program for scoring college education by affordability, and paycheck equity. They all seemed to have ready-made hashtags: #manufacturinghub, #fixitfirst, and #collegescorecard. There was no moon shot or a plan for overhauling Social Security, but in the aggregate it was a lot, especially in the current environment where the Senate can't pass a budget, House conservatives are ready to burn the ships, and Barack Obama and the John Boehner openly question the other's toughness.Read more
Obama Urges a Move Away From Narrow Focus on Politics of AusterityBy Karen Tumulty and Philip Rucker
Just about every argument in Washington since the 2010 midterm elections, which returned control of the House to Republicans, has centered on reducing the federal deficit. On Tuesday night, President Obama leaned into his second term by declaring that a single-minded focus on deficit reduction would jeopardize the nation’s future. And he sounded an urgent call to rebuild.Read more
In a Shift for GOP, Marco Rubio Demonstrates the Power of SpanishBy Beth Reinhard, National Journal
By delivering the Republican response to the State of the Union speech in Spanish, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on Tuesday broke through an increasingly powerful language barrier between the political establishment and the nation’s fastest-growing demographic.Read more
Republicans tear into Obama on spendingBy Susan Davis, USA Today
The second-term priorities President Obama outlined in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday face significant roadblocks in a divided Congress, and Republicans were quick to point them out Tuesday.Read more
Why Would Anyone Oppose the Violence Against Women Act?By Molly Ball, The Atlantic
Today's GOP has a talent for gratuitously making itself look bad.
On Tuesday, a growing faction threatened to derail the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which passed the Senate with 22 dissenting Republican votes. A couple of months ago, Senate Republicans defeated a treaty on disabilities -- rebuking their own party's war heroes, Bob Dole and John McCain, who spoke in support of the measure. One can imagine that for their next stunt, Republicans will oppose a bill to help the elderly across the street, or vote against a resolution honoring motherhood and apple pie.Read more
Victims Of Cyberattacks Get Proactive Against IntrudersBy Tom Gjelten, NPR
U.S. companies that have their networks routinely penetrated and their trade secrets stolen cannot be surprised by a new National Intelligence Estimate on the cyber-espionage threat. The classified NIE, the first-ever focusing on cybersecurity, concludes that the U.S. is the target of a major espionage campaign, with China the leading culprit.Read more
Feb 12, 2013
Watching Obama for Signs of ChangeBy Jackie Calmes, The New York Times
On Tuesday night, the president will address the nation and Congress on the state of the union. But many will watch as well for signs of the state of Barack Obama.Read more
Inside the White House and out, advisers and associates have noted subtle but palpable changes in Mr. Obama since his re-election. “He even carries himself a little bit differently,” said one confidant who, like others, asked not to be identified discussing the president. He is relaxed, more voluble and even more confident than usual, these people say, freer to drop profanities or dismiss others’ ideas — enough that even some supporters fear the potential for hubris.
Obama Speech Will "Throw Down the Gauntlet" to CongressBy Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics
Here’s what we know about President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night: It will include some news -- as in new challenges aimed at Congress -- and enough rhetoric about economic growth and job creation to sound familiar to most Americans who worry about continued 8 percent unemployment.Read more
Obama Economy Mission Unfulfilled as He Speaks on State of UnionBy Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News
President Barack Obama first spoke before a joint session of Congress during the depths of a recession. Four years later, much of the mission he laid out remains unaccomplished.Read more
When Obama delivers his State of the Union address tonight, he’ll still be confronting the central challenge of his presidency: The unemployment rate is only a few tenths of a percentage point lower than it was in February 2009, middle- income Americans are earning less, and the economy stalled in the last three months of 2012.