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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Obama Speaks To Congressional Leaders on "Fiscal Cliff" - Before leaving to return to Washington from his family holiday vacation in Hawaii, President Obama spoke by phone, to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calf.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

The Senate returns to work today, but the House remains empty with five days to go to the deadline before automatic spending cuts go into effect.

At this point, procedural guidelines in the House and Senate may prohibit a bill from being passed prior to January 1.  The Washington Post has an update here.


Geithner Takes Action to Avoid Nation Hitting Debt Limit - with the lack of an agreement on the "fiscal cliff" and the nation's debt ceiling, treasury secretary Timothy Geithner, sent a letter to Congressional leaders saying, the U.S. government is approaching the limit of its borrowing authority and will begin taking “extraordinary measures” to delay a vote by Congress on increasing the debt ceiling. has more here.


Unemployment Applications Lowest Since 2008 - The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications dropped 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 350,000 in the week ended Dec. 22. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to a nearly five-year low of 356,750.  You can read more here.


Shatz Named To Replace Inouye - Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie (D) appointed Lt. Governor Brian Shatz to fill the open Senate seat resulting from the death of Senator Daniel Inouye (D).

Speculation was Representative Colleen Hanabussa (D) would succeed him.  Shatz is expected to be sworn in this afternoon. has more here.


EPA Administrator Jackson is Latest Cabinet Member to Step Down - Lisa Jackson announced she will be resigning as head of the Environmental Protection Office shortly after President Obama delivers the State of The Union Address next month.

President Obama said “Under her leadership, the EPA has taken sensible and important steps to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink, including implementing the first national standard for harmful mercury pollution, taking important action to combat climate change under the Clean Air Act, and playing a key role in establishing historic fuel economy standards that will save the average American family thousands of dollars at the pump, while also slashing carbon pollution”. has more here.


CNN Poll: First Lady Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton Receive High Marks - Tops on the list is First Lady Michelle Obama; Seventy-three percent of Americans approved of the way Michelle Obama was handling her job as first lady, compared to 20% who disapproved.

In the poll, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also received high marks - 66% of Americans approved of the job she's doing, compared to 30% who disapproved.

Another Cabinet member, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, received lower marks in the CNN poll released Wednesday. Thirty-six percent of respondents approved of the job Geithner is doing at the Treasury, compared with 42% who disapproved and 21% who were unsure. has more here.


NBC "First Read": Top Ten Political Events of 2012 - number one was the 47% video.  In the video, from a closed-door fundraiser in May, Romney tells wealthy donors that the "47 percent" of the country that doesn't pay income taxes, that is dependent on government, and that believes "they are victims" will vote for President Obama no matter what. He adds in the video: "My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

NBC has more on all ten events, here.


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