January 2014

Jan 29, 2014

6 Signs a Republican Senate Takeover Is Within Reach

By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

Republican gains and President Obama's weakness have Democrats on their heels, preparing to fight for Senate seats they never thought they'd have to defend and hoping that 2016 will give them a chance to win back the Senate if they lose it next year.

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The State of the Union: Make it stop

By Todd S. Purdum, Politico

Blame Woodrow Wilson, who broke a century-old presidential tradition of delivering the State of the Union message only in writing. Blame Harry S. Truman, the first chief executive to make the address on television, or Lyndon B. Johnson, the first to do so in prime time.

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Slow Motion

By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

“America does not stand still," said President Obama in his State of the Union address, "and neither will I." For the next hour the president plotted the path he would walk and the strides he would take to get around the members of Congress who had blocked his path before. But when the speech was over, the president hadn't moved very far at all. He was still a leader entangled by Congress and the Constitution.

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Republicans to Obama: Not so fast

By Susan Davis, USA Today

President Obama put Congress on notice Tuesday night that he is poised to act without their help, but congressional Republicans countered that a president can go only so far without the legislative branch, even one as unpopular as this.

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In State of the Union Address, Obama Vows to Act Alone on the Economy

By Peter Baker, The New York Times

After five years of fractious political combat, President Obama declared independence from Congress on Tuesday as he vowed to tackle economic disparity with a series of limited initiatives on jobs, wages and retirement that he will enact without legislative approval.

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Jan 28, 2014

Obama to Raise Minimum Wage Under Federal Contractors

By Peter Baker, The New York Times

President Obama plans to sign an executive order requiring that janitors, construction workers and others working for federal contractors be paid at least $10.10 an hour, using his own power to enact a more limited version of a policy that he has yet to push through Congress.

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NBC/WSJ poll: Obama approval rating at 43%

With John Harwood, CNBC

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Obama’s Puzzle: Economy Rarely Better, Approval Rarely Worse

By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

President Obama will pronounce on the state of the union for the fifth time on Tuesday, and never during his time in office has the state of the economy been better — yet rarely has he gotten such low marks from the public for his handling of it.

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President Hopes His Pen May Be Mightier Than Gridlock

With Tom Gjelten, NPR

President Obama's aides have hinted that the president plans to make greater use of executive orders going forward, primarily in order to bypass a gridlocked Congress. To learn more about how past presidents have used these unchecked executive orders, Robert Siegel talks with Ken Mayer, an expert on presidential powers from the University of Wisconsin.

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Obama’s MacGyver Moment

By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

In advance of President Obama's State of the Union address, he and his aides have been talking about his desk set. "I have a pen and I have a phone," the president has said, a declaration meant to convey that he will act if Congress doesn’t. "The president views the power of his presidency in two areas," political adviser Dan Pfeiffer said on CNN's State of the Union. "His pen, which is the executive orders, the presidential memorandums. Also the phone, where what he can do is he can pick up the phone, bring together American citizens, and business to commit on key issues."

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Jan 27, 2014

Meet the Romneys

By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

Mitt, the documentary about Willard Mitt Romney's two presidential campaigns, is not so much a campaign movie as it is a home movie. You can tell it's not a campaign movie because in the 90 minutes of behind-the-scenes private moments, none of the main characters utters a single swear word. If it were a political documentary, you'd have to send the kids to the other room. Instead, you should save a space on the couch for them to watch this story of a loving father and his family weathering the abuse of the modern political campaign with faith, good humor, and love.

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How Republicans Lost the Farm

By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

On a recent Monday in San Antonio, Texas, Tom Vilsack, the secretary of agriculture, got up to speak to an auditorium full of farmers. Vilsack, a doughy, wavy-haired former governor of Iowa, wore a grim expression as he gripped the lectern.

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