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Obama to Make Public Statement on Looming Fiscal Cliff

House Speaker John Boehner's teleprompter; Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call

A teleprompter displays House Speaker John Boehner’s remarks about the fiscal cliff on Wednesday. Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call.

The Morning Line

With the outlines of a deal to avert the looming “fiscal cliff” beginning to appear, President Obama will do his part to help fill in the picture when he delivers a statement Friday from the East Room of the White House, his first public remarks since his election night speech in Chicago.

The moment brings the president and House Speaker John Boehner together again for another attempt to address the country’s budget problems and in the process avoid the massive tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect in January.

During an interview with Diane Sawyer of ABC News on Thursday, the top Republican in Congress said he remained “optimistic” that the two sides would be able to find “common ground” for an agreement.

Boehner also said raising taxes on wealthier Americans was “the wrong approach” and warned such a proposal could not pass the House. That, in turn, led to this exchange between the Speaker and Sawyer:

DIANE SAWYER: Is there a difference in believing that it’s the wrong approach and still putting it on the table to break the gridlock? Because over and over again, people have been writing us, saying to us, move forward, break the gridlock. Do it.

JOHN BOEHNER: The president and I had a very good conversation yesterday. I’m confident that he and I can find the common ground necessary. I laid out an approach yesterday. I laid out a path forward. Now it’s time for the White House to begin to lay out some path forward as well.

DIANE SAWYER: So you will talk about it? Even if you believe it’s the wrong approach, you’ll talk about it?

JOHN BOEHNER: Of course we’ll talk about it! We talk about all kinds of things we may disagree.

Boehner has struck a more conciliatory tone in the wake of Tuesday’s results, but the question remains if the Republican from Ohio can wrangle support among a fractious caucus that holds a fervent opposition to increasing tax rates, even in the wake of Mr. Obama’s victory and Democratic gains in the Senate.

The other unknown, of course, is just what concessions Mr. Obama is willing to make in order to help Boehner sell the deal to his party. And, with reporters not expected to have the chance to press the president following his statement on Friday, it will likely be a little while longer before the answer to that question is known.

On the last-ever Obama campaign conference call Thursday, senior adviser David Plouffe told reporters that he wanted to flag the fact that 56 percent of self-described “moderate” voters backed the Democrat, a statistic that signals to the administration that there is a mandate for the president’s economic agenda.

Plouffe and campaign manager Jim Messina also hinted that Organizing for America would likely remain intact so that operatives can have a conversation with supporters “on what they want to do next.”

The aftermath of the election has also left many Republicans asking where the party goes from here. Jeffrey Brown looked at the challenges ahead for the party with GOP strategist Leslie Sanchez, Brad Dayspring of YG Action Fund and Matt Kibbe of Freedomworks.

Watch the discussion here or below:

Retiring Ohio GOP Rep. Steven LaTourette sharply criticized the reaction from one Tea Party leader who called the movement the “last best hope” for America and blamed “Beltway elites” for hand-picking a “weak moderate candidate” in Romney.

“Well, listen to me, there’s a one word phrase we use in Ohio for that: crap,” LaTourette said. “That’s nonsense.”

This will be a debate worth watching as the Republican Party looks to recalibrate its message for 2013 and beyond.


  • Mr. Obama gave a heartfelt “thank you” to his campaign staff and shed a few tears. Here’s the full video.

  • Mitt Romney may not run for office again but vows he “will not fall off the map,” according to the New York Times.

  • Vote counting is winding down in Florida, and the Miami Herald’s Marc Caputo says the Florida director of Romney’s campaign has offered the equivalence of a concession.

  • MSNBC calculates that Hurricane Sandy may “actually cost the president 800,000 votes.”

  • Marc Ambinder answers a question we posed in a livestream chat with Arun Chaudhary on Tuesday: What happens to the nominee’s Secret Service when he loses? Answer: “[T]he Service leaves quickly. No more motorcades. No more rope lines. No more bubbles. Familiar faces disappear, never to be seen again.”

  • NBC News looks at what’s next for Romney’s campaign aides.

  • Team Romney had a transition website ready to go Tuesday. Political Wire posted the screengrabs.

  • The Associated Press relays a second race-related protest at a college campus after Mr. Obama was declared the winner Tuesday night. The first was at Ole Miss, where students held a counter-protest by candlelight on Wednesday.

  • It begins. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will headline Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s birthday bash.

  • Attorney General Eric Holder hasn’t decided yet if he’ll stay for a second term, Reuters reports.

  • Sunlight adds up super PAC spending and calculates the return on investment.

  • Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill vetoes muumuus. The Atlantic has that and other anecdotes from the Democrat’s fashionable daughter.

  • Democrat Terry McAuliffe announced in an email Thursday that he will run for governor of Virginia in 2013. The Old Dominion does not allow governors to serve back-to-back terms, so GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell cannot seek re-election.

  • Roll Call’s Joshua Miller rounds up the handful of House races still uncalled.

  • New Hampshire has elected its first openly transgender legislator.

  • George P. Bush — son of former Florida GOP Gov. Jeb Bush and nephew of former President George W. Bush — has filed to have a campaign finance treasurer in Texas, an early sign he may run for a statewide office, according to the Associated Press.

  • Brian McGrory of the Boston Globe criticizes Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren for not saying more the day after her election win Tuesday.

  • Usher did not have to wait in line to vote.

  • The newspaper industry’s demographics match the Republican Party’s, and that’s bad news, writes Ken Doctor.

  • A Walton, Ky., city council race is deadlocked after a candidate’s wife failed to vote.

  • Here comes the race of 2014: Ashley Judd vs. Kentucky GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell?


  • Ray Suarez talked with Curt Anderson of the Associated Press and Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald about voting issues and, of course, Florida. Watch the segment here or below.

  • At a breakfast in Washington on Thursday, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., outlined priorities for the next session of Congress. Here’s our report.

  • Judy Woodruff talked with Aetna’s CEO about the fiscal cliff. Watch that segment here.


Christina Bellantoni contributed to this report.

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