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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Giffords Testifies on Gun Safety - in the opening statement at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun safety Wednesday, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) urged lawmakers to "be courageous" and pass new gun laws in order to protect Americans and particularly children.

"Thank you for inviting me here today. This is an important conversation for our children, for our communities, for Democrats and Republicans. Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important. Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something. It will be hard but the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you. Thank you."  C-SPAN has live coverage of the hearings, here.


Governor Patrick Picks Mo Cowan To Fill Kerry Seat - William “Mo” Cowan is Governor Deval Patrick’s choice to serve as the interim US senator until the successor to John F. Kerry is chosen by the voters June 25, the governor’s office said in a statement today.

“I am proud and delighted to appoint Mo Cowan as interim U.S. Senator from Massachusetts,” Patrick said in the statement. “Mo’s service on the front lines in our efforts to manage through the worst economy in 80 years and build a better, stronger Commonwealth for the next generation has earned him the respect and admiration of people throughout government.

Former Representative Barney Frank had lobbied hard for the appointment.

A primary election for the seat is set for April 30 and US Representative Edward Markey is so far the only high profile Democrat to formally enter the race.

Former US Senator Scott Brown, who lost to US Senator Elizabeth Warren last fall, is considering whether to enter the race for the Republicans.  The Boston Globe has more here.


C.I.A. Nominee Knew of "Enchanced Interrogation Techniques" - records, sources said, show that John Brennan was a regular recipient of CIA message traffic about controversial aspects of the agency's counter-terrorism program after September 2001, including the use of "waterboarding."

How deeply involved Brennan was in the program, and whether he vigorously objected to it at the time, as he has said he did, are likely to be central questions lawmakers raise at his Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing, scheduled for February 7. has more here.


Obama Approval Hits 60% - the Washington Post/ABC News poll shows President Obama with the highest approval ratings since his first year in office.  The Wsahington Post has more details here.


U.S. Economy Shrinks as Defense Spending Drops - The economy in the U.S. unexpectedly shrank in the fourth quarter, restrained by the biggest plunge in defense spending in four decades and dwindling inventory growth as household purchases picked up.

In good news, bolstered by a drop in fuel prices and the biggest gain in incomes in four years, consumer spending accelerated as the biggest part of the economy overcame superstorm Sandy, a bitter presidential contest and Washington budget battles. has more here.


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