November 2012

Nov 21, 2012

Grover Norquist the has-been

By Doyle McManus, the Los Angeles Times

Grover Norquist is losing his grip. It once seemed as if Washington's most powerful anti-tax crusader had the Republican Party firmly in hand. Signing Norquist's public pledge not to raise taxes was almost mandatory in GOP politics. Nine of the 10 candidates initially vying for the Republican presidential nomination, including Mitt Romney, signed on, as did candidates for local, state and national office.

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Number of veterans in Congress continues to decline

By Susan Davis, USA Today

A decade of wars abroad has not reversed the decline in military veterans serving in the U.S. Congress. When the next session convenes in January, the two chambers will have the fewest number of veterans serving since World War II. It's a continuation of a nearly four-decade-long decline of veterans in office since the peak of their service in the years after the Vietnam War.

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For Obama and Clinton, their final tour in Asia as partners

By Peter Baker, The New York Times

They emerged from Air Force One together, side by side, smiling at the crowd waiting on the tarmac below. Then as they headed down the stairs, she held back just a little so that she would stay a step behind him. For President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, this week’s trip to Southeast Asia is to be their last foreign adventure together in office, an intriguing, sometimes awkward closing road show that is nostalgic over a partnership at an end yet hints at a future ripe with possibility.

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Obama, showing support for Israel, gains new leverage over Netanyahu

By Helene Cooper and Mark Landler

In the fractious relationship between President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, the shoe may have just shifted to the other foot.

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Gaza’s grim prophecy

By James Kitfield, National Journal

The Gaza crisis teeters between the momentum of violence and a cease-fire all sides desperately want but no one can easily stomach. Many lives tragically hang in that precarious balance, but the outcome does not. Israel enjoys such overwhelming military superiority over Hamas militants that a tactical victory has always been assured, as evidenced by the lopsided death toll to date of over 100 Palestinians killed to three Israelis. The only question from the outset of Israel’s launching of “Operation Pillar of Defense” in response to escalating rocket attacks from Gaza, was at what cost?

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Nov 20, 2012

Abraham Lincoln, vote hunter

By John Dickerson

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is so lush you feel like you’re watching it in a velvet chair. The dark parlors and White House meeting rooms are full of fire and cigar smoke. The Lincoln played by Daniel Day Lewis seems so familiar it reminds you of the first time you heard him, except of course you never have. But after my wife and I watched the film, her first reaction was to say this: “I kept thinking about health care.” She wasn’t talking about the gritty scene at an Army hospital. She was talking about the Affordable Care Act.

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4 men in California arrested for plot to kill Americans overseas

With Pierre Thomas, ABC News

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Clinton to visit Middle East in move to defuse Gaza conflict

By Peter Baker and Isabel Kershner, The New York Times

President Obama sent Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Middle East on Tuesday to try to defuse the conflict in Gaza, the White House announced.

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Nov 19, 2012

The death of the moderate Republican

By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

Republicans just lost eight seats in the House. But if you'd wandered into the House of Representatives last week without reading the election returns, you might have concluded that the GOP won big on Nov. 6.

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After Benghazi hearings, flurry of concern unsettled

By Tom Gjelten, NPR

David Petraeus' resignation from the CIA further complicated the debate over the September attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. Petraeus, a key figure in the events, stepped down as director after admitting to an extramarital affair. But members of Congress were so anxious to hear from him that they brought Petraeus back to Capitol Hill on Friday to get his version of the Benghazi story.

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AARP uses its power to oppose Social Security, Medicare benefit cuts for retirees

By Michael A. Fletcher and Zachary A. Goldfarb, The Washington Post

AARP, the lobbying powerhouse for older Americans, last year made a dramatic concession. Amid a national debate over whether to overhaul Social Security, the group said for the first time it was open to cuts in benefits.The backlash from AARP members and liberal groups that oppose changes in the program was enormous — and this time around, as Washington debates how to tame the ballooning federal debt, AARP is flatly opposed to any benefit reductions for the nation’s retirees.

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Fiscal cliff negotiators are facing high hurdles

By Charles Babington, Associated Press

It's entirely possible that lawmakers and the White House will reach a deal that staves off an avalanche of tax increases and deep cuts in government programs before a Jan. 1 deadline. To do so, however, they'll have to resolve deep political and fiscal disagreements that have stymied them time after time despite repeated promises to overcome them.

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