>It is now almost a month into the new Congressional Term and it appears Obama is swaying over to the middle just a tad. When you have prominent conservative House Members like Eric Cantor advising the new lawmakers that they need to negotiate away their advantages to get something, it’s time to ponder.
In fact it will be cause for Democrats, libertarians, and independents to throw up their arms and say the Tea Party conservatives didn’t get it done, so now I’m going back to vote for the crooks, the thugs, the Obama administration.
Because this is so important a time for Republicans and conservatives – notice I don’t believe they are the same thing – I am doing something I don’t like to do. I’m re-printing Politico’s entire column. If they complain I’ll take it down. But meanwhile, read this disgusting bunch of articles and opinion. Obviously not everyone – including Peggy Noonan, Reagan’s speech writer – agrees with me. So be it. Don White
SIREN — PAUL KANE: At the House GOP retreat in Baltimore, ‘Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) delivered a stern message that the debt ceiling will eventually have to be raised to keep the government from defaulting. But he also promised that Republicans will ‘use the leverage’ they have to enact at least some of their spending-reduction goals. ‘It’s a leverage moment for Republicans,’ Cantor said in an interview Friday. ‘The president needs us. There are things we were elected to do. Let’s accomplish those if the president needs us to clean up the old mess.”
PRONOUNCER for new RNC Chairman Reince Priebus (formerly the Wisconsin GOP chairman), per Hohmann:
“The name is Rhine with a hard s at the end and pree-bus.”http://bit.ly/g0J3zN
BEHIND THE CURTAIN — WashPost A1, “Despite risks, Obama ready to press China on human rights,” by Scott Wilson:
“Senior administration officials say he is exploring ways to better reach Chinese citizens directly, perhaps by using technology unavailable to many of his predecessors. He has also been seeking advice from Chinese dissidents and human rights advocates ahead of President Hu Jintao’s state visit next week. On Thursday, Obama met for more than an hour at the White House with five advocates for human rights in China.” http://wapo.st/efLlb0
Good Saturday morning. MONDAY’S FRONT PAGE TODAY:
Look for a variety of lawmakers to get great local press over the next couple of days by declaring that they’ll sit with a member of the opposite party during the State of the Union address on Jan. 25, collapsing the aisle that normally divides them. Regional reporters will go to their delegations and ask if they’re going to participate, prompting even more to join. Jonathan Cowan, president of Third Way, the centrist Democratic think tank, wrote to bipartisan congressional leaders on Monday: “The spectacle of one side leaping to its feet while the other sits glumly on its hands is just that – a spectacle. Perhaps having both parties sit together, intermingled, would help control the choreography of partisanship.” See Cowan’s 2-page “Open Letter” http://politi.co/f9B5d6
TOP TALKER – Peggy Noonan in the WSJ, “Obama Rises to the Challenge”: “Throughout Mr. Obama’s career, he has critiqued America and its leadership from an outsider’s stance, from that of an intellectual relatively new to public life. … In this speech he celebrated America, and in celebrating it, he aligned himself more closely with the values the American people most justly celebrate in themselves-instinctive courage, idealism, willingness to take the initiative. … Obama is attempting to come back as a real force, and as a potentially effective thwarter of Republican intentions, especially on health care. You can see the sweet reason and rope-a-dope coming: If there’s a specific part of the program you have problems with please tell me, let’s work together to make it better. Republicans will have to meet him with dignity and good faith, and go toe to toe on one thing, the facts. … [T]hey should know their adversary. Something is going on with him. He’s showing the signs of someone who has learned from two solid years of embarrassment and unpopularity.”
–Sen. John McCain, who has sometimes been gracious to his ’08 opponent and sometimes not, writes in Sunday’s WashPost:
“President Obama gave a terrific speech … We are Americans and fellow human beings, and that shared distinction is so much more important than the disputes that invigorate our noisy, rough-and-tumble political culture. That is what I heard the president say … I commend and thank him for it.” http://wapo.st/gC5X48
–John Dickerson spots the lead in the above op-ed:
“McCain also defends Sarah Palin, though he never mentions her name. … ‘How it must feel to have watched one week ago the incomprehensible massacre of innocents committed by someone who had lost some essential part of his humanity, … and to have heard in the coverage of that tragedy voices accusing you of complicity in it.'” http://slate.me/helKZC
TOP STORY – Bruce Reed replaces Ron Klain as Vice President Biden’s chief of staff – White House release: “Reed has most recently worked for the Administration as Executive Director of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform … In addition, the Vice President announced that one of his closest advisors, Michael C. Donilon, will be returning to his previous position as Counselor to the Vice President. ‘I’ve known and admired Bruce for over 20 years,’ said Vice President Biden. ‘We worked closely together to pass the crime bill in the 1990s and I’ve frequently sought his advice and counsel in the years since.’ … Bruce Reed’s previous work in the White House came during the Clinton-Gore administration, where he spent four years as the Chief Domestic Policy Advisor to the President, after two years as Deputy Domestic Policy Advisor and two years as Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy Planning. During this period, he helped President Clinton win passage of landmark welfare reform, the Clinton education agenda, and much more.
“On behalf of the Clinton-Gore Administration, Reed worked closely with then-Senator Biden to help craft and win passage of the 1994 Biden Crime Bill, which included then-Senator Biden’s Violence Against Women Act and his initiative to put 100,000 cops on the streets. Prior to the Clinton-Gore administration, Reed was deputy campaign manager for policy for the Clinton-Gore campaign and previously served on the staff of then-Senator Al Gore from 1985-1989. From 1990-1991, he served as policy director for the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). Reed returned to the DLC in January 2001 …; A native of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Reed is a graduate of Princeton University and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.” The full release http://bit.ly/h4lumB
–OVP MINDMELD: Bruce is a very serious and smart person who can help the V.P. have a big impact on things here. Yes, there may be some noise from progressives. But Bruce knows he is coming here to do Joe Biden’s bidding. And after 35 years in public life, Joe Biden is not about to change. It is also the next step in Biden assembling an “A”-level team – including Mike Donilon, Tony Blinken, Jay Carney, Jared Bernstein, Cathy Russell, Cynthia Hogan – that combines old Biden hands and new faces, and that is both powerful and plays well with Team Obama.
–Klain’s last day will be next Friday. Reed will start the following Monday, the day before the State of the Union.
CONNECTING THE DOTS – Financial Times opinion page, “Time for Arab leaders to watch cable TV – and quake: Events in Tunisia in recent days remind us that a regime ruling by fear loses balance once the wall of fear is broken,” by Roula Khalaf, the FT’s Middle East editor: “The slogans begin with demands for jobs and soon turn into a cry for the departure of the ruler. Angry young men take to the streets knowing they would meet police fire; others burn themselves alive because the police took away their informal small business. In the rest of the Arab world, the young generation cheers for the rioters while watching the fiery al-Jazeera, the pan-Arab channel that has taken up the cause of Tunisians. The region’s other autocratic rulers, meanwhile, were rooting for President Zein al-Abidine Ben Ali, hoping that his well-honed security skills would put a swift end to the unrest. They were wrong. … Is Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak tuning in to Arab television channels? Are the rulers of Algeria, where riots erupted over rising food prices last week, listening? They certainly should be. … Mr Ben Ali ran a police state that so obsessively stifled liberties that it made some of its autocratic neighbours look like democracies. … The convergence of a youth bulge, economic deprivation and tired, autocratic regimes is a recipe for instability in other parts of the Arab world.”
–N.Y. Times, 2-col. lead, “President of Tunisia Flees, Capitulating to Protesters: Demonstrations Oust Arab Leader for First Time – Prime Minister Takes Over,” by David D. Kirkpatrick, in Tunis:
“The fall of Mr. [Zine el-Abidine] Ben Ali marked the first time that widespread street demonstrations had overthrown an Arab leader. … [B]y late Friday night, Tunisian Facebook pages previously emblazoned with the revolt’s slogan, ‘Ben Ali, Out,’ had made way for the name of the interim president. ‘Ghannouchi Out.'” http://nyti.ms/eE9OKd
–Update, AFP: “Tunisian parliament speaker becomes new interim leader.” … Reuters: “Tunisia’s Constitutional Council announced that under the constitution the speaker of parliament, not the prime minister, should be the interim president.”
–Background, per the State Department: “Location: North Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Libya. … Religions: Muslim 99% … Languages: Arabic (official), French. … Recorded history in Tunisia begins with the arrival of Phoenicians, who founded Carthage and other North African settlements in the 8th century B.C. … It was a French protectorate from 1881 until independence in 1956, and retains close political, economic, and cultural ties with France.” Big vacation spot for Brits and French.
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NEW RNC CHAIR — AP’s Liz Sidoti, “URGENT” from Oxon Hill, Md.:
“Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus has won the election to be chairman of the Republican National Committee. [The 38-year-old] surpassed the 85 necessary votes in the seventh round of balloting … Former Michigan GOP chairman Saul Anuzis and GOP operative Maria Cino came in second and third. Ann Wagner and current RNC Chairman Michael Steele dropped out in earlier rounds.” Official bio http://bit.ly/fvXhSg
–“Priebus steps into the spotlight,” by James Hohmann and Juana Summers, with Zack Abrahamson: “Priebus, a partner at a corporate law firm who grew up modestly in Kenosha, methodically climbed the latter from local volunteer to chairman of the 1st District Republicans to state party treasurer to state vice chairman and then state chairman in 2007. Now he and his wife, Sally, will look for a house in Washington to move with their two young children. Jack is five; Grace will soon celebrate her first birthday. ‘This is a big adventure,’ Sally Priebus said in an interview. Priebus often jokes about the pronunciation of his Greek name. … After winning a hard-fought contest, he still pronounced his name carefully for reporters at a hastily-convened press conference … Reince met his wife at an Illinois church when he was 18 and she was 16. Their first ‘date’ was at a Lincoln Day dinner. … Priebus graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater.”
–In Priebus’ remarks, he started by thanking God and Jesus Christ for all the ways he has been blessed. (Don’t forget Collegio!)
“STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE RONALD REAGAN PRESIDENTIAL FOUNDATION REGARDING NEW BOOK [by] RON REAGAN, ‘MY FATHER AT 100’: We believe Ron has written a wonderfully warm and engaging book about life with his father, Ronald Reagan. It offers a tribute that only a son could present. As for the topic of Alzheimer’s, this subject has been well documented over the years by both President Reagan’s personal physicians, physicians who treated him after the diagnosis, as well as those who worked closely with him daily. All are consistent in their view that signs of Alzheimer’s did not appear until well after President Reagan left the White House.”
BIRTHDAYS: Adam Levine (hat tip: Laidlaw) … Sadie Belle Elleithee turns the big O-N-E! … Lisa Garcia, chief of staff to USTR Ron Kirk (h/t Amy Brundage). … FEB. 15: Priya Singh.
SPOTTED: White House Press Assistant Joanna Rosholm, celebrating the big 2-6 — bowling and rocking out to Miley Cyrus, with former DNC co-workers Hari Sevugan, Brandi Hoffine and Michael Czin, among others, new NBC staffer, Joshua Janiak.
GET EXCITED: Marc Adelman (@marcadelman) arrived in Los Angeles yesterday to help his dad, Barry, EP of the Golden Globes, prepare the red carpet and Beverly Hilton ballroom for Sunday’s 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards (@goldenglobes).
JON MEACHAM brandishes a Glock during “Need to Know on PBS” – From the final version of his “In Perspective” essay:
“Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy and Senator Frank Lautenberg are sponsoring legislation to restore the ban on such weapons. The argument from Second Amendment purists that such things will then only find their way to the black market is unconvincing. … I say this as someone who does not want to give up my own guns – but who believes that with rights come responsibilities.” Photo, video, transcript http://to.pbs.org/ha09lt
RAHMWATCH –WashPost A1,
“Obama a hot issue in Chicago mayor’s race,” by Peter Wallsten: “Emanuel’s rivals are trying to turn those presidential ties against him. African American and Hispanic leaders inside and outside Chicago are lining up against Emanuel as a way to vent their long-simmering complaints that Obama has not done enough to help their communities.” http://wapo.st/earGo2
TECHWATCH – “Verizon Deal May Expose IPhone Flaws,” by Joe Nocera, NYT “Talking Business” columnist: “[T]he Apple chief executive’s fetish for form over function has its downside. Not everybody, it turns out, is indifferent to whether their smartphones can actually make phone calls. … Verizon Wireless could have snagged the original iPhone contract four years ago, but it passed. It did so not because of the iPhone’s flaws, which were then unknown, but because Apple was insisting on terms that it could not accept. … The Apple-AT&T marriage has been a public relations disaster – for AT&T. Its network was quickly overwhelmed, in part because it was subpar, and in part because iPhone owners … used astonishing amounts of data: 15 times more than the average smartphone user … And what was Verizon Wireless doing? Taking full advantage of AT&T’s problems to trumpet the reliability of its own network. Network reliability, in fact, became its core selling point …
“[T]he success of Android is what finally pushed Apple into the arms of Verizon Wireless, which got much better terms than AT&T. When I asked a spokeswoman for Verizon Wireless who was going to control the customer, she told me that iPhone users who were having problems would take their phone to the nearest Verizon Wireless store, not the Apple genius bar. Verizon Wireless does not appear to have promised the guaranteed subsidy, the way AT&T did. … Apple needed Verizon Wireless more than Verizon Wireless needed Apple. The deal the two companies cut reflects that fact. … Verizon Wireless insists that its network is up to the task of handling all that data its iPhone customers will be clamoring for. But clever developers keep coming up with new ways to use even more data than anyone ever dreamed of. … Another possibility is that the Verizon Wireless network will hold up fine but that the iPhone will keep dropping calls because of its own inherent compromises.” http://nyti.ms/f0mgyR
TWO THINGS WE WOULD CHANGE ABOUT THE NEW YORK TIMES: “iPhone” for “IPhone” in headlines, and “C-SPAN” for “C-Span.”
THE PRESIDENT’S WEEK AHEAD: “On Saturday and Sunday, the President has no public events scheduled. On Monday, the President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. … Later, the President and the First Lady will participate in a community service project in the Washington, DC area in celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service and in honor of Dr. King’s life and legacy. … On Tuesday, the President will attend meetings at the White House. On Wednesday, the President and the First Lady will host President Hu Jintao of the People’s Republic of China for a state visit. In the morning, the President will welcome President Hu to the White House in a State Arrival Ceremony. The President and President Hu will also hold a bilateral meeting and a joint press conference. In the evening, the President and the First Lady will host a State Dinner in honor of President Hu. On Thursday, the President will attend meetings at the White House. On Friday, the President will host a reception for mayors at the White House. Later, the President will travel to Schenectady, New York to visit the birthplace of General Electric. The site is home to GE’s largest energy division, including steam turbines, generators, wind and solar, and the future home of GE’s advanced battery manufacturing facility. The President will tour the site with GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt and he will make remarks on the importance of growing the economy and making America more competitive by investing in jobs, innovation and clean energy. The GE plant in Schenectady is a direct beneficiary of GE’s power turbine deal with India announced during the President’s trip last November. Later, the President will attend the Democratic Issues Conference in Cambridge, Maryland.”
–THE V.P.’s WEEKEND: “On Saturday and Sunday, the Vice President will be in Wilmington, Delaware. There are no public events scheduled. On Monday, the Vice President and Dr. Biden will participate in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service in Wilmington.”
MEDIAWATCH – “Kurtz tweets correction after prodding from reporter,” by Joe Pompeo:
“Howard Kurtz, the Daily Beast’s Washington bureau chief, issued a much-delayed correction on Tuesday, explaining that there had been a mix-up while he was reporting a Nov. 27 piece on Rep. Darrell Issa. It turns out that Kurtz didn’t actually speak to the congressman — whom he quoted in his story — but to his spokesman. … Over the past three days, Hunter Walker, a reporter for News Corp’s The Daily, fired off more than 150 tweets urging Kurtz to issue a corresponding correction on Twitter (where he had promoted the piece in November). Now, it looks like Walker’s efforts have paid off. ‘My explanation to Politico on my late correction on Darrell Issa story. (Short version: I screwed up.),’ Kurtz tweeted shortly after 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon, referencing a Wednesday Politico item. That was about half an hour after [Yahoo’s] The Cutline reached Kurtz by phone to ask why he had not tweeted a correction, as Walker was so persistently encouraging him to do. ‘I think I’ve said all I’m going to say on the subject,’ Kurtz told us.” http://yhoo.it/eVbD8K
BUSINESS BURST – ROB NICHOLS, writing on POLITICO, “Banking on greater capital”:
“Higher capital levels reduce the amount of credit that banks can extend and raise the cost of making loans … The effect already can be seen in the U.S. economy, where loan demand is falling as the cost of credit rises. Smaller borrowers have been hit disproportionately hard. Regulators may see capital surcharges for systemically important institutions as a simple way to address the problem of ‘too big to fail.’ But capital charges are a blunt tool that can perversely mask problems and create a false sense of security. … [F]inancial institutions must be strong and stable. But setting capital requirements too high may impede economic growth and job creation.” Rob Nichols is president of the Financial Services Forum, a nonpartisan financial and economic policy organization comprising the CEOs of 20 of the largest financial services institutions in the U.S. http://politi.co/h8ZHOk
SPORTS BLINK – NFL PLAYOFFS, Divisional Round:
–Baltimore at Pittsburgh, 4:30 p.m., CBS (pregrame: “The NFL Today presented by Southwest Airlines – 3:30 p.m.) Line is Steelers by 3½.
–Green Bay at Atlanta, 8 p.m. ET, Fox (pregame: 7:30 p.m.) Line has Falcons by 1½ to 2. But they don’t know A-Rod.
DESSERT – SPOT THE DECKARD REFERENCE — L.A. Times A1, “Pies take the cake for dinner, dessert,” by Sharon Bernstein:
“Pie has replaced cake at some weddings. There are pie happy hours and pie shooters served in shot glasses. ‘Pie is hot,’ said Andrew Freeman, a restaurant industry consultant who predicts pie will be the top food trend for 2011. ‘[T]here will be dedicated pie shops and pie carts and pie trucks opening in the next year’ … Americans ordered 722 million servings of pie at restaurants nationwide last year, an increase of 12 million slices over 2009 … [S]ervings of cake … were down at eateries and specialty bakeries last year in the U.S. … Angela Malner had pies at her wedding. The Burbank bride ordered them in pecan, pumpkin, apple, raspberry and brown sugar … after rejecting … cupcakes as ubiquitous. … Some of the inspiration for the trend seems to come from Texas, where the Blue Bonnet Cafe outside of Austin has long held a pie happy hour … Now there’s a pie happy hour in New York at the Hill Country Cafe, and Chile Pies (& Ice Cream) in San Francisco specializes in pies that have green chile, cheese and apples inside. Larry Denorio, who runs a cupcake truck in the Hartford, Conn., area, will soon launch a second truck, Pie Brake, to offer all kinds of pie, from apple to pizza. … Some pie lovers bristle at the idea that their favorite treat will be the next big thing – not because they don’t want people to eat pie, but because they say that unlike cupcakes, frozen yogurt or other dessert trends, pie won’t ever go fully out of style.” http://lat.ms/hICqMk
THE SHOWS, from Matt Mackowiak:
–NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK); Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY); roundtable with New York Times columnist David Brooks, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, Rev. Al Sharpton and Tim Shriver
–ABC’s “The Week”: Town Hall meeting live from Tucson, with residents and family members of shooting victims
–CBS’s “Face the Nation”: Rudy Giuliani and Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA); Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
–“Fox News Sunday”: Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ); former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN); roundtable with Fox News’ Brit Hume, NPR’s Mara Liasson, the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol and Fox News’ Juan Williams; “Power Player of the Week” segment with author Lorraine Wallace (“Mr. Sunday’s Soups”)
–CNN’s “State of the Union”: Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA); roundtable on mental health with psychologist Dr. Fred Frese and author Pete Earley; roundtable on mental health with Treatment Advocacy Center Founder Dr. E. Fuller Torrey and the University of Maryland’s Dr. Lisa Dixon
–C-SPAN: “The Communicators” (tonight, 6:30 p.m. ET): Consumer Electronic Association President and CEO Gary Shapiro and Telecommunications Reports Senior Editor Paul Kirby …
“Newsmakers” (Sunday, 10 a.m. ET / 6 p.m. ET): HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, questioned by The Washington Post’s Amy Goldstein and Bloomberg’ Jeffrey Young … “Q&A” (Sunday, 8 p.m. ET / 11 p.m. ET): Students from the Washington Center discuss their experience in Washington.
–Univision’s “Al Punto”: Intern for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) Daniel Hernandez and his mother, Consuelo Hernandez; former Gov. Jeb Bush; former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado (D-CA); Haitian President René Préval; roundtable with the Alfredo Carbajal, editor of the Dallas Morning News’ Dallas Morning News “Al Día”; and W Radio correspondent Vanessa De La Torre.
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