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  • Video: New Jersey Gov. Christie delivers "State of the State" address
    (Source: NJTV)

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  • Video: Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords speaks about gun control
    (Source: ABC News)

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  • Video: Gov. Christie says White House needs Biden for Hill
    (Source: "Morning Joe"/MSNBC)

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  • Video: Former Gov. Richardson, Google's Schmidt in North Korea
    (Rough Cut)

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  • Obama aide presses Republicans to accept more tax revenues

    The U.S. Congress should accept in the next round of deficit-reduction talks that revenue from taxes must be raised further if it expects President Barack Obama to sign off on a deal, the president's top economic adviser, Gene Sperling, said in an interview.

    The White House and Congress are trying to reach an agreement that would delay planned austerity measures and keep funding the government, while at the same time cutting the budget deficit over the long term.

    Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has ruled out raising revenues as part of any deal, but Sperling said a significant chunk must come from higher taxes.

    "The president is not suggesting that in this next round of deficit reduction it all be on revenues," Sperling said in an interview taped on Tuesday with Reuters TV's "Impact Players."

    "He's just suggesting that we continue to do it in a balanced way so that our overall agreement really is about two dollars in spending cuts for every dollar in revenue."

    Read on...
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  • Wal-Mart will meet with Biden gun task force on Thursday

    Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Wednesday it would send a representative to Washington to meet with Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday to share the company's position on the responsible sale of firearms.

    At first, Wal-Mart was not going to send anyone to Biden's meeting, saying its senior leaders could not be in Washington this week and that it spoke in advance with Biden's office to share its perspective, spokesman David Tovar said.

    "We underestimated the expectation to attend the meeting on Thursday in person, so we are sending an appropriate representative to participate," Tovar added.

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  • Obama to nominate Lew as Treasury secretary Thursday: source

    President Barack Obama will nominate White House chief of staff Jack Lew as his next Treasury secretary on Thursday, replacing Timothy Geithner, according to a source familiar with the matter.

    Lew had been widely expected to be tapped for the role. He has served as budget director for Obama and for former President Bill Clinton.

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  • Video: NJ Gov. Christie says talking gun control not enough
    (Source: "CBS This Morning"/CBS News)

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  • "The President and I are determined to take action...I want to make clear that we're not going to get caught up in the notion that, unless we can do everything, we're going to do nothing."
    -Vice President Joe Biden, speaking to attendees of a summit on gun safety at the Old Executive Office Building on Wednesday (quote via White House pool reporter)
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  • "More guns are not the answer...let me be clear, freedom is not a handgun on the hip of every teacher."
    -Connecticut Governor Malloy during Wednesday's "State of the State" address.
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  • U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks to representatives of gun safety and gun violence victims' groups in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, January 9, 2013. President Barack Obama is "determined to take action" against gun violence and is weighing possible executive orders aimed preventing further attacks like last month's shooting massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, Biden said on Wednesday. Also pictured is U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. REUTERS/Larry Downing

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  • Clinton says she will step off fast track "for a little while"

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday she would step off the fast track "for a little while" when she leaves the State Department but she gave no hint as to whether she may ultimately run again for U.S. president.

    Speaking to reporters for the first time since a stomach virus, concussion and blood clot kept her out of public view for nearly a month, Clinton said she wanted to ensure a seamless transition to Senator John Kerry, who has been nominated by President Barack Obama to succeed her.

    "Obviously, it's somewhat bittersweet," Clinton, who came back to the office on Monday, said of her final few weeks as secretary of state, saying she had "the most extraordinary experience" as secretary of state.

    "I am very much looking forward to doing everything we can these last few weeks to resolve and finish up wherever possible and then to ... have a very smooth, seamless transition to Senator Kerry to continue the work," she said.

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  • "Let’s not let arguments over the Constitution’s Second Amendment violate the spirit of its First."
    -White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, in an official response to a petition seeking the deportation of CNN presenter Piers Morgan over comments made about gun control. (read the full response)
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  • Who is Jack Lew and why does Obama's pick for Treasury secretary irk many in the GOP?

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  • Video: Secy. Clinton back at work, feeling fine
    (Deborah Lutterbeck reports)

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  • Obama determined to act against gun violence: Biden

    President Barack Obama is "determined to take action" against gun violence and is considering executive orders aimed preventing attacks like last month's massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, Vice President Joe Biden said on Wednesday.

    Biden opened a White House meeting with gun violence victims and gun-control advocates as part of his effort to craft a package of recommendations that Obama has requested by the end of January.

    The administration is considering a combination of executive actions and legislation and is determined to act quickly, Biden said.

    "We are not going to get caught up in the notion that unless we do everything we're going to do nothing," the vice president told reporters before the meeting. "There is a pretty wide consensus on three or four or five things in the gun safety area that could and should be done."

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  • Statement by the President on Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis
    (as released by the White House)


    "Over her long career in public service – as an advocate for environmental justice in California, state legislator, member of Congress and Secretary of Labor - Hilda Solis has been a tireless champion for working families. Over the last four years, Secretary Solis has been a critical member of my economic team as we have worked to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and strengthen the economy for the middle class.

    Her efforts have helped train workers for the jobs of the future, protect workers’ health and safety and put millions of Americans back to work. I am grateful to Secretary Solis for her steadfast commitment and service not only to the Administration, but on behalf of the American people. I wish her all the best in her future endeavors. "
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  • New York Governor Cuomo proposes minimum wage hike

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called on Wednesday for raising the state's minimum wage by nearly 21 percent, to $8.75 an hour.

    "It is long overdue," Cuomo said during his State of the State address. "We should have done it last year."

    New York's current rate of $7.25 an hour is below that of 19 other states, he said. On January 1, 10 U.S. states increased their minimum wage rates by between 10 and 35 percent.

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  • Ken Salazar now the only Hispanic in Obama's cabinet, with Solis' resignation.

    — Ethan Klapper (@ethanklapper) January 9, 2013
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  • Solis resigning as labor secretary, Holder to remain

    Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, a long-time member of President Barack Obama's Cabinet and the first Latina to head a major federal agency, announced plans to resign on Wednesday.

    Her departure comes as the White House faces questions about why the president so far has not nominated any women for the vacancies he has had to fill for his second-term Cabinet.

    A White House official said three Cabinet members plan to remain as Obama begins his second term. They are: Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

    Solis said in a statement she had submitted her resignation to Obama - not an unexpected development given that many Cabinet members grow fatigued by the long days in office and are eager to look at opportunities in the private sector after four years.

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  • Platinum coin idea has little currency at White House

    The White House on Wednesday sees little profit in the notion of minting $1 trillion platinum coin as an escape hatch to avoid a debt default if Congress balks at raising the U.S. debt limit.

    With another standoff with Congress over raising the debt ceiling looming as early as mid-February, a petition on the White House website asks the administration to create a single platinum coin worth $1 trillion to avoid a stalemate over lifting the borrowing cap. The petition has garnered more than 7,100 signatures.

    An asset of that value would place the United States well within its $16.4 trillion borrowing limits, the argument goes.

    Pressed to rule out the idea, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday passed the buck.

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  • "Jack Lew, who is the President’s Chief of Staff, has been and continues to be an extremely valuable advisor to the President. Over the past more than quarter of a century, Jack Lew has been an integral part of some of the most important budgetary, financial, and fiscal agreements, bipartisan agreements in Washington."
    -White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, when asked about President Obama's reported future nomination of Jack Lew as the next treasury secretary. Carney would neither confirm nor deny that Lew would be tapped by Obama.
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  • Video: U.S. State Department daily press briefing with Victoria Nuland

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  • Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassoul, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) meet at the U.S. Capitol in Washington January 9, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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  • Video: White House daily press briefing with Jay Carney

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  • "When six- and seven-year-olds are gunned down in their own school, there’s a problem here that we need to address…as the President said, we can't simply not try because it’s hard. The problem is too important."
    -White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, speaking at the White House daily press briefing on Wednesday.
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  • Giffords gun control group wants $20 million for 2014 elections

    A new gun control group led by Gabrielle Giffords, the former U.S. congresswoman wounded in a Tucson shooting rampage, wants to raise $20 million for the 2014 congressional elections, matching the National Rifle Association's spending in last November's elections, the group's treasurer said on Wednesday.

    Giffords and her husband, former U.S. astronaut Mark Kelly, have turned to Houston trial lawyer and Democratic donor Steve Mostyn to act as treasurer. He gave $1 million of his own money to help kick start a campaign launched on Tuesday calling for what Giffords and Kelly describe as common-sense measures to curb gun violence.

    The move marks the entry of the high-profile couple, both gun owners, into a heated national debate over gun control fueled by the massacre of 20 children and six teachers at a Connecticut elementary school last month.

    "We're just getting things started, but I've had conversations with a dozen other large political donors who have worked with me on other issues in the past, and I've had a good response," Mostyn told Reuters.

    Read on…
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  • Former Gov. Richardson says he didn't meet detained American on North Korea trip

    Former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt failed to secure the release of a Korean-American held in North Korea since December during a controversial trip to the secretive state.

    Richardson told a media briefing at Beijing's airport on Thursday he was unable to meet Korean-American Kenneth Bae, who has been charged with unspecified crimes against the state.

    He said he had expressed his concerns to North Korean authorities and had been assured of Bae's good health.

    Schmidt said in brief remarks his visit was private and was to talk about a free and open Internet.

    Read on…
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  • Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt visit the Korean Computer Center in Pyongyang January 9, 2013 in this picture released by the North Korea's KCNA news agency. REUTERS/KCNA

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  • Obama relying on bigger checks for smaller inauguration party

    President Barack Obama, who has tried to limit the influence of money in politics, is relying on federal contractors and businesses that profited from his campaign to pay as much as $1 million for his inauguration party later this month.

    The fundraising strategy marks a shift from Obama's 2009 inauguration, when he banned corporate money and limited individual contributions to showcase his commitment to transparency and clean government.

    This time around, organizers are soliciting bigger checks to pay for a party that will lack the historic aura of 2009, when Obama became the nation's first black president.

    Donors include prominent government contractors such as AT&T and Microsoft and a business that sells inauguration merchandise. Wealthy individuals who funded attacks on his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, also appear to be contributors.

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  • The White House is pictured before sunrise in Washington, January 10, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed

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  • Video: Afghan leader Karzai meets U.S senators

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  • Video: LA Mayor Villaragoisa says "watershed moment" on gun control (MSNBC)

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  • Video: Obama advisor: End the dangerous default threat game

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  • Biden expects to deliver his gun violence recommendations to Pres Obama on Tuesday.

    — Mark Knoller (@markknoller) January 10, 2013
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  • Video: NY Gov Cuomo calls for tougher gun laws during "State of the State" address

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  • Biden to give Obama gun violence recommendations by Tuesday

    Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday his task force on ways to reduce gun violence is looking at an emerging set of recommendations and he will hand them over to President Barack Obama by Tuesday.

    Biden, at a meeting of hunting and outdoor sport groups, said two recommendations were likely to be an appeal for universal background checks for gun purchasers and a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips.

    Biden said only a "tight window" exists for action and that he will hand over his recommendations by Tuesday to Obama.

    Read on...
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  • "One reason Jack has been so effective in this town is because he's a low-key guy, who prefers to surround himself with policy experts instead of television cameras."
    -President Barack Obama, in a personnel address announcing his nomination of Jack Lew as the next treasury secretary
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  • "I am deeply saddened and troubled by news of the shooting. Judy and I offer our prayers to the victims, their families and the entire Taft community."
    - Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-California), reacting to news of a shooting at a high school in Kern County, California.
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  • Geithner will be working through Jan. 25, and then leave office, according to Treasury official.

    — Zachary A. Goldfarb (@Goldfarb) January 10, 2013
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  • Pentagon ordered to begin 'prudent' steps to prepare for defense cuts

    WASHINGTON, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Thursday he had directed the U.S. military services to began taking "prudent" steps to offset the impact of huge budget cuts that could take effect on March 1, including curtailing some facilities maintenance and freezing civilian hiring.

    "I'd like to believe that ultimately Congress will do the right thing," Panetta said. But "we simply cannot sit back now and not be prepared for the worst."

    Panetta told a news conference he also directed the services to begin planning now in case the department has to put its nearly 800,000 civilian employees on unpaid leave for up to a month during the remaining months of the 2013 fiscal year.
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  • Obama nominates Jack Lew to succeed Geithner at Treasury

    President Barack Obama on Thursday nominated his chief of staff, Jack Lew, as the next Treasury secretary, praising him as a expert on the pressing national issues of spending cuts and deficit reduction.

    Lew will succeed Timothy Geithner and take the lead on difficult negotiations with Congress on how to cut the nation's massive debt and rein in spending - a central challenge for Obama's second term.

    Lew, a 57-year-old New Yorker who has previously served as White House budget chief, is likely to face tough questioning from Republicans in his Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing after a bruising year-end battle over tax increases on the wealthy. He appears likely to win Senate confirmation.

    Obama described Lew as "a low-key guy who prefers to surround himself with policy experts rather than television cameras, and said the son of a Polish immigrant had a deep belief in public service.

    Read on...
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  • State Dept spokeswoman Nuland: "Killed by aliens?!" Reporter w/thick accent: "No, Indians. Killed by Indians." Nuland: "Oh!"

    — Hannah Allam (@HannahAllam) January 10, 2013
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  • NRA says "It is unfortunate that this Administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation's most pressing problems"

    — Steve Brusk (@stevebruskCNN) January 10, 2013
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  • Statement From the National Rifle Association of America Regarding Today's White House Task Force Meeting

    "The National Rifle Association of America is made up of over 4 million moms and dads, daughters and sons, who are involved in the national conversation about how to prevent a tragedy like Newtown from ever happening again.

    We attended today's White House meeting to discuss how to keep our children safe and were prepared to have a meaningful conversation about school safety, mental health issues, the marketing of violence to our kids and the collapse of federal prosecutions of violent criminals. We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment.

    While claiming that no policy proposals would be “prejudged,” this Task Force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners - honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans.

    It is unfortunate that this Administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation's most pressing problems.

    We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen. Instead, we will now take our commitment and meaningful contributions to members of congress of both parties who are interested in having an honest conversation about what works - and what does not. "

    (Source: NRA)
    by anthony.derosa edited by Matthew Keys 1/10/2013 9:05:49 PM
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China lodges protest after Trump call with Taiwan president

BEIJING/WASHINGTON China lodged a diplomatic protest on Saturday after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump spoke by phone with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, but blamed the self-ruled island Beijing claims as its own for the "petty" move. | Video