December 2013

Dec 24, 2013

A toast to the bad old days

By Todd S. Purdum, Politico

The Democratic president was at loggerheads with the House Republican leader after a rancorous session of Congress. A liberal White House adviser badmouthed the leader to the press, and the president had to apologize. In the end, a bipartisan Christmas spirit prevailed, and the business of governing got done.

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The Battle Within the Democratic Party

By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

Things are not going well for Democrats. Riding high just weeks ago after Republicans shut down the government, the party now finds itself in a swoon: President Obama’s ratings have hit an all-time low. The implementation of healthcare reform remains a mess. Vulnerable Democrats are scrambling to distance themselves from the White House, and the party is on track to lose seats in the House and Senate next year.

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This year’s 5 key congressional moments

With Ed O'Keefe, Washington Post

Despite the historic lack of productivity, it was a busy year on Capitol Hill with shutdowns, shootings, filibusters, historic budget deals and scandal.

Which moments were most important and memorable? Here’s a quick video essay

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Dec 23, 2013

What Snowden started

By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

Edward Snowden should be proud.

Until this week, the National Security Agency could argue that its massive effort to collect every American's telephone records had been approved, at least tacitly, by all three branches of government.

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US releases more documents on surveillance origins

By Kimberly Dozier, Associated Press

The director of national intelligence on Saturday declassified more documents that outline how the National Security Agency was first authorized to start collecting bulk phone and Internet records in the hunt for al-Qaida terrorists and how a court eventually gained oversight of the program.

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Make Mistakes. Admit Them. Try Again.

By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

Presidents aren’t allowed to admit mistakes in public. So when President Obama was asked during his news conference today what mistake he had committed in the last year, he gave a mushy answer. George W. Bush had trouble with the same question. President Obama answered at greater length than Bush—580 words!—but with the same lack of substance. He talked about his health care website and how lines of communication were blurry and the procurement process wasn’t very good. Those are problems, not mistakes, and certainly not mistakes he made.

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For official Washington, a truly horrible year

By Dan Balz, Washington Post

Who had the worst year in Washington? The answer is easy: official Washington.

In the past year, Americans witnessed the diminishment of President Obama’s political standing and credibility; the least productive Congress in decades; a partial shutdown of the government caused by a misguided tea party Republican strategy; the deeply flawed implementation of the Affordable Care Act; and the legal and political fallout from revelations about the National Security Agency’s intelligence-gathering activities.

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Obamacare Deadline: Must Enroll by Midnight

With Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

Julianna Goldman updates the latest Affordable Care Act news.

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Dec 20, 2013

Step Away From The 2016 Polls

By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

I don't hate polls. I am not all that bothered by talk of a 2016 presidential campaign that is almost three years away. What does make me apoplectic, however, is watching political commentators seriously analyze a poll taken in 2013 about potential 2016 presidential candidates.

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13 Unlikely Congressional Newsmakers of 2013

By Fawn Johnson, National Journal

We all knew coming into 2013 that Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Paul Ryan would be important in the ongoing budget squabble. We also knew that Sens. Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz would be worth watching.

But there are several lawmakers who made the spotlight this year, even if only briefly, that we didn't anticipate. Here are 13 of our favorite unlikely newsmakers.

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Congress approves reforms to address sexual assault, rape in military

By Ed O’Keefe, The Washington Post

Congress passed a broad set of changes to U.S. military personnel policy late Thursday, forcing the Pentagon to revamp how it deals with cases of sexual assault and rape in the ranks.

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Lew sends letter to Congress warning of debt limit

With Eamon Javers, CNBC

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