December 2012

Dec 20, 2012

New Calls for Gun Limits

By Laura Meckler and Gary Field, Wall Street Journal

Several lawmakers Sunday called for reintroducing a ban on assault weapons in the wake of Friday's deadly school rampage. President Barack Obama is also likely to propose gun-policy changes, according to two administration officials.

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Obama vs. the NRA

By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine


There are two ways to kill a policy idea in Washington: Broaden it to include every interested person with an opinion, or appoint a commission. If you broaden it, it quickly becomes a cacophonous mess, and everyone throws up his or her hands. Commissions, almost by design, are where action goes for a nap. So when President Obama unveiled his preliminary response to the Newtown, Conn., massacre in his news conference on Wednesday—a commission headed by Vice President Joe Biden to drum up some wide-ranging recommendations—you might have had reason to worry that Obama wasn’t serious about committing himself to gun control.

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Dec 19, 2012

Boehner’s Backup Tax Plan Shakes Up ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Negotiations

By Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane, The Washington Post

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) veered off the bipartisan course he had been charting toward a broad tax-and-entitlement deal with President Obama and instead Tuesday pushed a GOP package to extend tax cuts for income up to $1 million.

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After Newtown, Will Obama Take Cue From Clinton?

By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

More than 14 years ago, President Clinton told a roomful of interested parties at the White House, “We have to help schools recognize the early warning signs of violence and to respond to violence when it does strike.”

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Obama Facing Critical Choice After Shooting

By Peter Baker, The New York Times

For President Obama, the massacre of schoolchildren in Connecticut has upended standard political calculations and has presented a choice that goes to the heart of his approach to governance, not just on guns but also on issues like climate change, immigration and even taxes.

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Benghazi Attack Report: Security 'Grossly Inadequate'

With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

The report on the terrorist attack that killed Ambassador Stevens is critical of protection measures.

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Could a Deal on the “Fiscal Cliff” Be Worthy of Spielberg?

By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

“This is not Spielberg’s Lincoln, OK? You’re not going to pick these guys off one at a time,” Republican Rep. Tom Cole said to me in a recent conversation about fiscal-cliff negotiations between President Obama and Republicans. “We have one negotiator. His name is John Boehner.” President Lincoln passed the 13th Amendment by siphoning off enough Democrats to win passage. Cole says Obama can’t do the same thing with today’s House Republicans. Any deal that passes the House will do so with the majority of Republican support. “If he comes back and tells us, ‘This is a deal, I think it’s the best deal I can get, it’s an acceptable deal for the American people,’—the support will be there.”

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Dec 18, 2012

In Sign of Normalization, Pentagon to Reimburse Pakistan $688 Million

By David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times

The Pentagon quietly notified Congress this month that it would reimburse Pakistan nearly $700 million for the cost of stationing 140,000 troops on the border with Afghanistan, an effort to normalize support for the Pakistani military after nearly two years of crises and mutual retaliation.

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After Tragedy, Partisanship May Cool a Bit

By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

To the extent that Americans have diverted their attention since Friday from the horror in Connecticut toward their capital, it has been to wonder whether the school shooting would provoke the first serious gun control debate in years. But the tragedy could have an impact on another crucial legislative issue: the contest over taxes and spending.

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Obama Now Has Freedom to Push on Gun Control

By Fawn Johnson, National Journal

President Obama offered his boldest statements to date on gun control on Sunday evening in Newtown, Conn. Always a supporter, never a doer on this particular topic, Obama has the freedom now to push a little bit harder on an issue that evenly divides the country.

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How Much to Tax the Rich? It's in the Cards

With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

As the high-stakes showdown over the fiscal cliff continues, Republicans and Democrats continue to debate how much the richest Americans should pay in taxes. WSJ's David Wessel heads to a poker table to explain the controversial issue.

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Obama Makes A Substantial Counteroffer On Fiscal Deadline

By Christi Parsons and Lisa Mascaro, Los Angeles Times

President Obama trimmed his demand for tax increases on the wealthy Monday, making a substantial counteroffer as he and House Speaker John A. Boehner reconvened privately at the White House.

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