President Obama met with the White House press for his end of year news conference; a new review on NSA practices; a rare budget deal in Congress and a look at the economy's standing at year's end. Joining Gwen: Susan Davis, USA Today; Pete Williams, NBC News; Greg Ip, The Economist; Dan Balz, Washington Post.
On the Webcast Extra: as the president leaves for his Hawaiian vacation, Dan Balz discusses the optics of his year-end press conference. Will the nomination of Max Baucus to be Ambassador to China get a smooth confirmation in the Senate? Susan Davis discusses. Pete Williams discusses federal sentencing guidelines for drug charges, and Greg Ip compares Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to his predecessor Alan Greenspan.