December 2011

Dec 22, 2011

Obama Gets a Lift From Tax Battle With Republicans

By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

After a long stretch of high unemployment, legislative turmoil and, in turn, slipping public approval, President Obama seemed to regain his political footing this week with the help of House Republicans, whose handling of a standoff over payroll taxes had even leading conservatives accusing them of bungling the politically charged issue.
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Gingrich Uses Precious Time To Get On Va. Ballot

By Charles Babington, Associated Press

Newt Gingrich is frantically playing catch-up in the Republican presidential race, spending precious time trying to get on Virginia’s primary ballot while his rivals campaign in crucial Iowa and New Hampshire. The former House speaker is paying a price for his late start in organizing. Gingrich had to leave New Hampshire on Wednesday and race to Virginia, where he needs 10,000 valid voters’ signatures by Thursday to secure a spot on the March 6 ballot.
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A Long Goodbye to Afghanistan

By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

This week, the last convoy of U.S. troops in Iraq drove noisily across the border into Kuwait and shut the gate behind them. The next drawdown comes in Afghanistan, where American forces are scheduled to disengage from most combat by the end of 2014. But the Afghanistan withdrawal won't be anywhere near as final as the one we just saw. U.S. military leaders are working on a new slimmed-down strategy that would keep some American troops in combat against the Taliban for years to come, long after 2014.
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Chinese Hack Into US Chamber of Commerce, Authorities Say

By Pierre Thomas and Olivia Katrandjian, ABC News

For more than a year, hackers with ties to the Chinese military have been eavesdropping on U.S. Chamber of Commerce officials involved in Asia affairs, authorities say. The hackers had access to everything in Chamber computers, including, potentially, the entire U.S. trade policy playbook.
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Gingrich Challenges Romney to ‘Test the Heat’ with One-on-One Iowa Debate

By Dan Balz, Washington Post

Newt Gingrich fired back at Mitt Romney’s assertion that he can’t take the heat of a vigorous campaign, saying here Wednesday that he can “take the heat plenty well,” accusing his rival of hiding and challenging his rival to a one-on-one debate in Iowa next week to settle their differences.
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GOP Presidential Candidate Newt speaks to reporters at a recent event. (CNN)

China Reportedly Hacked Chamber Of Commerce

by Tom Gjelten, NPR

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that hackers in China broke into computers at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, potentially accessing information about its operations and members. NPR's Tom Gjelten talks with Robert Siegel on what, if anything, the hackers could have accessed.
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Virgina Ballot Shows Gingrich Campaign Woes

By Sam Youngman, Reuters

Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich made a last-minute dash to get on the ballot for the Republican primary in Virginia, in another sign his campaign may not be ready for prime time and could struggle to beat President Barack Obama next year.
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Dec 21, 2011

Obama Scolds House GOP Over Payroll Tax Stalemate

By Alexis Simendinger and Caitlin Huey-Burns, RealClearPolitics

President Obama turned up the heat on House Republicans Tuesday afternoon, urging them to rethink their opposition to a Senate-approved bill that would extend the payroll tax holiday for at least two more months next year. Shortly after House conservatives voted Tuesday to rebuke the Senate and risk raising the payroll tax in January, the president grabbed his spokesman’s podium to deliver his own message to lawmakers.
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Dems Hope for Campaign Edge on Tax Issue

By Charles Babington, Associated Press

Democrats feel they’re closer than ever in their long-running bid to paint Republicans as being much more eager to cut taxes for the rich than for the working class. But public contempt for Congress is so rampant that the effort may fade away in a pox-on-all-their-houses fog. If that happens, President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats could lose a political edge as they head into the 2012 elections with a struggling economy.
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Payroll Tax: A High Stakes Game of Chicken?

With John Harwood, CNBC

CNBC's John Harwood has the latest details on the payroll tax cut fight on Capitol Hill, and debating the merits of a full- year versus a two-month version of the bill, with Rep. Brad Sherman, (D-CA), and Rep. Nan Hayworth, (R-NY).

Watch videon on CNBC

Perry Dismisses Gingrich’s Complaint of ‘Negative’ Campaigning

By Jeff Zeleny, New York Times

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas said Tuesday that he was not concerned by a complaint from a Republican rival, Newt Gingrich, that the tenor of the presidential primary race had grown too negative and indicated that he had no plans to stop drawing contrasts in the final two weeks before the Iowa caucuses. “As long as no one is misstating the facts, I don’t consider that to be negative,” Mr. Perry said. “It’s always in the eye of the beholder.”
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House Rejects 2-Month Extension of Payroll Tax Cut

By Susan Davis, USA TODAY

The Republican-controlled House on Tuesday rejected a Senate-approved two-month extension of a payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits to millions of Americans, raising the likelihood that both will expire on Dec. 31.The House effectively adjourned for the year following the vote, and with the Senate out of town for the holiday, there is no resolution in sight on a legislative battle waged by House Republicans over the length of the benefits' extension. Both chambers can return to Washington at the call of party leaders if there is an agreement.
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