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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

"It's time to do the right thing," - Obama writes, "for the 26 innocent children and devoted educators who lost their lives in Newtown, for the men and women in big cities and small towns who fall victim to senseless violence each and every day, and for this country we love so much."

President Obama wrote an op-ed published by The Connecticut Post, where he continues his push for reasonable gun control legislation.  You can read it here.

In addition, an email was sent to the Obama campaign email list from Vice President Joe Biden, where he says in part, "The ideas we sent to President Obama are straightforward. Each of them honors the rights of law-abiding, responsible Americans to bear arms. Some of them will require action from Congress; the president is acting on others immediately. But they're all commonsense and will help make us a little safer."


Next White House Chief of Staff Likely To Be McDonough - President Barack Obama is likely to name Denis McDonough, one of his closest national security advisers, as his next chief of staff, according to people familiar with the White House thinking.

However, White House officials say a final decision has not been made.

In tapping McDonough, Obama would be relying on an inner circle ally for the key West Wing post. McDonough, 43, currently serves as the president's deputy national security adviser and is highly regarded by Obama and White House staffers.

McDonough would replace current White House chief of staff Jack Lew, the president's nominee for treasury secretary.  You can read more here.
Algerian Forces Launch Operation To Free Hostages - Twenty-five foreign hostages escaped and six were killed on Thursday when Algerian forces launched an operation to free them at a remote desert gas plant, Algerian sources said, as one of the biggest international hostage crises in decades unfolded.
Fast-moving details of the military operation to free the hostages were difficult to confirm. Algeria's official APS news agency said that the military had freed four foreign hostages, giving no further information.

Mauritania's ANI news agency, which has been in constant contact with the kidnappers, said seven hostages were still being held: two Americans, three Belgians, one Japanese and one British citizen.

The standoff began when gunmen calling themselves the Battalion of Blood stormed the gas plant on Wednesday morning. They said they were holding 41 foreigners and demanded a halt to a French military operation against fellow al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants in neighboring Mali. has more here.


Jobless Claims fall To Five Year Low - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits tumbled to a five-year low last week, a hopeful sign for the sluggish labor market.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted 335,000, the lowest level since January 2008, the Labor Department said on Thursday. It was the largest weekly drop since February 2010. NBC News has more here.


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