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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Obama Calls Members of Congress on Budget Cuts - One day after ordering $85 billion in automatic, across-the-board spending cuts to go into effect, President Barack Obama was on the phone with members of both parties Saturday, trying to find the "bipartisan compromise that we need to get out of this," said Gene Sperling, the president's senior economic aide.

"He's reaching out to Democrats who understand we have to make serious progress on long-term entitlement reform, and Republicans who realize if we have that type of entitlement reform, they'd be willing to have tax reform that raises revenues to lower the deficit," Sperling said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." has more here.


States Brace For Sequester Effects - Sure, it’s got a weird name. But the effects of sequestration may hit all too close to home for some Americans if lawmakers allow the cuts to take full effect later this month. One day after President Barack Obama signed an order to cut spending by $1.2 trillion over a decade, NBC News takes a look at how people may feel the pinch from New York to Chicago to Los Angeles. has more here.


Obama To help Democrats Regain Majority in House - President Obama, now facing the consequences of automatic spending cuts and the complications they raise for his broader domestic agenda, is taking the most specific steps of his administration in an attempt to ensure the election of a Democratic­-controlled Congress in two years.
“What I can’t do is force Congress to do the right thing,” Obama told reporters at the White House on Friday after a fruitless meeting with Republican leaders to avert the country’s latest fiscal crisis, known as the sequester. “The American people may have the capacity to do that.”

Obama has committed to raising money for fellow Democrats, agreed to help recruit viable candidates, and launched a political nonprofit group dedicated to furthering his agenda and that of his congressional allies. The goal is to flip the Republican-held House back to Democratic control, allowing Obama to push forward with a progressive agenda on gun control, immigration, climate change and the economy during his final two years in office, according to congressional Democrats, strategists and others familiar with Obama’s thinking.  The Washington Post has more here.


Senate Group Moves Closer To Immigration Legislation - A Democratic source familiar with the talks said the group may unveil the bill itself before the end of the month.

Either way, time is running short. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), McCain’s negotiating partner, said he expected to have a bipartisan bill sometime in March. There are only three weeks left until Congress leaves for a two-week Easter recess on March 22.

Lawmakers and groups advocating for reform say McCain, Schumer and their partners, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), need to show substantial progress before the end of the month. has more here.


Romney: "Obama Aided by Gifts to Minorities" - Mitt Romney stood by his belief that President Obama was aided in his re-election by giving gifts to minority voters, during an interview that aired on "Fox News Sunday."

"The president had the power of incumbency, 'Obamacare' was very attractive, particularly to those without insurance, and they came out in large numbers to vote," Romney said. "So that was part of a successful campaign."

Romney brought up health care reform a second time during the interview, his first since losing the election, saying it's appeal to minority and low-income Americans was another reason Obama won.

"I think the 'Obamacare' attractiveness and feature was something we underestimated, particularly among lower incomes," Romney said. has more here.


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