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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

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Obama on "NBC "meet The Press" - as expected, most of the conversation focused on the "fiscal cliff" negotiations. 

In “Meet the Press” interview this morning, the president says lawmakers must “prevent taxes from going up for the vast majority of Americans.”

"What I'm arguing for are maintaining tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans. I don't think anybody would consider that some liberal left-wing agenda. That used to be considered a pretty mainstream Republican agenda," he said. "And it's something that we can accomplish today if we simply allow for a vote in the Senate and in the House to get it done. The fact that it's not happening is an indication of how far certain factions inside the Republican Party have gone where they can't even accept what used to be considered centrist, mainstream positions on these issues."

"The offers that I've made to [Republicans] have been so fair that a lot of Democrats get mad at me," he said, noting that his acceptance of Chained CPI, a measure that would change the way Social Security payments are determined, has caused particular rancor within his own party.

"Highly unpopular among Democrats," he said of the proposed change. "Not something supported by AARP. But in pursuit of strengthening Social Security for the long-term I'm willing to make those decisions."

The president did say he was skeptical of the NRA proposal to put guns in schools.  "We have very good leads" on who was behind Benghazi attack and we will be implementing all of the recommendations from the report issued from the committee that investiagted the tragedy in Benghazi.

He also said comprehensive immigration reform was top on his list of things to accomplish in his second term.

Asked whether there was anything that easily disqualified Hagel from becoming Secretary of Defense, the president said "not that I see."

"I've served with Chuck Hagel. I know him. He is a patriot," Obama said.


Milk Bills To Be Considered By House - due, to the failure to pass the farm bill, milk prices are set to go up, perhaps even doubling in price.  One bill would extend the expired 2008 farm bill, which expired Sept. 30, for one year. The second would provide for a farm-bill extension through January and a third would just extend dairy programs through January. has more here.


Biden, Right Choice to Face NRA on Gun Control - First elected to the Senate in 1972, Mr. Biden had a long interest in passing crime legislation, and gun control eventually became part of his proposals. An assault weapons ban he wrote in the 1980s failed in Congress, but by 1994, as he put together a comprehensive crime package, a new Democratic senator, Dianne Feinstein of California, wanted to try again.

President Bill Clinton’s White House and House Democrats worried that the gun ban would end up taking down the entire crime bill, which authorized 100,000 more police officers, expanded the death penalty, built more prisons, cracked down on hate crimes and violence against women, and financed prevention programs. 
In the end, it passed, in significant part because of Mr. Biden. “I think there were days the chairman didn’t sleep,” said Karen Robb, who worked for the committee at the time. “It never would have made it out of the Senate without his help, period. It never would have made it out of conference without him.”
To get it through required a compromise. The bill defined an assault weapon as a gun that was able to accept a detachable magazine and that included two or more other combat-type accessories, like a pistol grip, a flash suppressor or a grenade launcher; those with just one accessory were still legal. The NY Times has more here.
Clinton-Ryan Contest in 2016? - a new CNN poll shows Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is tops among possible Democratic candidates for President in 2016 with 85% support.  Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) leads possible Republican candidates with 75% support. has more here.
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