December 2012

Dec 26, 2012

Congress Has Outsized Influence Over Obama's Cabinet

By Reid Wilson, National Journal's Hotline

Robert Bork's 1987 nomination to the Supreme Court, and the uproar over his ideology that ultimately led to his defeat, forever changed the process by which the Senate confirms judges. In the 25 years that have followed Bork's nomination, the two parties have fought increasingly bitter battles over high court picks in an effort to tilt the third branch of government their way. In 2002, the Oxford English Dictionary added the verb "to bork" -- to systematically defame or vilify a person, especially in the mass media -- to their lexicon.

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Republicans Aren't the Only Gun-Control Obstacle

By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

President Obama’s call for Congress to show the “courage” to consider new gun-control laws was aimed at Republicans, but he faces challenges with members of his own party who have a history of cowering from the gun debate.

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Some Urge Boehner: Let Dems Pass Fiscal Cliff Bill

By Charles Babington, Associated Press

In case the public weren't frustrated enough over Congress' failure to resolve the "fiscal cliff," consider this: lawmakers probably could enact a compromise quickly and easily if Republican leaders let Democrats provide most of the votes.

That would give Democrats a bigger voice in the bargain, of course, which the Republican-led House is loath to do. That's why about 10 percent of the House's members — staunch anti-tax conservatives — were able to thwart Speaker John Boehner's bid to pass a narrowly crafted bill that might have strengthened his bargaining hand.

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Dec 21, 2012

Obama Asks Supporters to Push Congress on Gun Control

By Peter Baker, The New York Times

President Obama sought on Friday to enlist supporters to mount a public lobbying campaign on behalf of gun control in the wake of the mass killings in Newtown, Conn., suggesting that Congress would listen only if forced to by a populist backlash to gun violence.

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NRA Offers Free Advice on Arming Schools

By Fawn Johnson, National Journal

It was called a press conference, but it was really a dog-and-pony show. Or rather, a dog-and-ID show. Reporters were required to show ID twice before checking in to a crowded ballroom in a downtown Washington, D.C., hotel, where they had already pre-registered, while sniffer dogs roamed between their legs.

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NRA's Wayne LaPierre Calls for Armed Security at Every School

Obama Names Kerry as Nominee to Replace Clinton at State

By Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg

President Barack Obama named Massachusetts Senator John Kerry as his choice to become the next U.S. secretary of state, saying he has the respect and trust of leaders around the world.

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Next Move Is Obama’s After Boehner’s Tax Plan Fails

By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

With House Republicans’ revolt over their leader’s tax plan the evening before, President Obama on Friday faced the challenge of finding a new tax-and-spending solution — perhaps working now with Senate Republicans — to prevent a looming fiscal crisis in January.

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Boehner Pins Responsibility for Avoiding ‘Fiscal Cliff’ on Obama, Democrats

By Lori Montgomery and Ed O’Keefe, The Washington Post

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) sought to shift responsibility Friday to President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate to reach an agreement to avert a series of spending cuts and tax hikes after his fellow Republicans delivered a stunning rebuke to Boehner’s own plan to raise taxes on those making more than $1 million.

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Dec 20, 2012

The Most Consequential Candidates of 2012 Show the Art of Politics Is Interpretive

By Reid Wilson, National Journal's Hotline

Early next year, a Democrat will be sworn in as governor of red Montana. A Democrat will take her Senate seat in red North Dakota. Republican governors will gear up for reelection bids in blue Michigan and Wisconsin. They all won in spite of unfavorable political landscapes because candidates, and their campaigns, matter. A strong campaign and a sharp candidate can overcome long odds, while a weak campaign can wilt even with the wind at its back.

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GOP Unveils a 'Plan B' if Budget Talks Fail

By Janey Hook, Carol E. Lee and Corey Boles, Wall Street Journal

Despite progress toward agreement on a budget deal with the White House, House Republican leaders on Tuesday proposed a backup plan to prevent most Americans from facing an income-tax increase if negotiations collapse.

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Obama and Boehner Diverge Sharply on Fiscal Plan

By Jackie Calmes and Jonathan Weisman, The New York Times

Hopes for a broad deficit-reduction agreement faded on Wednesday as President Obama insisted he had offered Republicans “a fair deal” while Speaker John A. Boehner moved for a House vote as early as Thursday on a scaled-down plan to limit tax increases to yearly incomes of $1 million and up, despite Senate opposition and Mr. Obama’s veto threat.

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