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No Deal: Wall Street Journal: "President Barack Obama said Tuesday that a deal still can get done to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, but he held firm on his demand that any agreement must include higher income-tax rates for the top earners. In his first interview since the Nov. 6 election, the president told Bloomberg Television that the proposal offered by House Republicans, which doesn't raise tax rates on upper-income Americans, is out of balance. 'When you look at the math, it doesn't work,' Mr. Obama said. The president said he is prepared to compromise and is willing to consider new ideas on a range of issues, including changes to entitlement programs. But he suggested that the two sides are likely to remain at an impasse until Republicans agree to raise income-tax rates for the top earners."
Instant Analysis: New York Times: "Obama’s unbending demand for higher tax rates on income over $200,000 a year per individual or $250,000 per family was in keeping with what the White House has been saying in recent weeks, but it reflected a marked evolution in the president’s own public statements. Just last month, at a post-election news conference, he signaled openness to raising taxes by closing loopholes and limiting deductions rather than raising rates themselves. ... Now the door appears shut as Mr. Obama and advisers make the case that there is no politically palatable way to generate the amount of revenue he wants to help reduce the deficit without raising rates."
Potential Wiggle Room?: While the president has been mighty clear on the need for tax hikes, in the interview he did not say that he would require that the tax rates return to where they were before the Bush tax cuts were enacted.
And the Survey (Still) Says: Washington Post: "A majority of Americans say that if the country goes over the fiscal cliff on Dec. 31, congressional Republicans should bear the brunt of the blame, according to a new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll .... While 53 percent of those surveyed say the GOP would (and should) lose the fiscal cliff blame game, just 27 percent say President Obama would be deserving of more of the blame. ... Those numbers are largely unchanged from a Post-Pew survey conducted three weeks ago and suggest that for all of the back and forth in Washington on the fiscal cliff, there has been little movement in public perception."
Doing the Math: What the ‘fiscal cliff’ will mean for you
This Probably Won't Help Matters: Politico: "Several prominent conservative organizations lashed out against a pair of decisions by Speaker John Boehner’s leadership team as House Republicans saw their tightly held grip on the right loosen a bit on Monday. Heritage Action, long a thorn in the side of the House Republican leadership, told its members in an email that Boehner was asking his “members to go back on their promise not to raise taxes on the American people” by putting $800 billion in new revenue into the mix of the negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff."
George Zimmerman's Bloody Nose: ABC News: "Lawyers for George Zimmerman believe that a newly released color photo of injuries their client sustained during his fatal altercation with Trayvon Martin and an alleged conversation involving Martin’s father create doubts about the strength of the murder case against the former neighborhood watch captain. The color photo, which was released months ago in black-and-white form, shows Zimmerman’s swollen and bruised nose with blood dripping down his mouth. The image was released on the Zimmerman defense website, gzlegalcase.com. His attorneys released the image publicly Monday, along with a separate motion asking Sanford police investigator William Irwin to take another deposition because of comments he made that came to their attention after his first deposition."
Where in the World is Jan Brewer? Los Angeles Times: "A bit of a mystery is unfolding this week in Phoenix. Gov. Jan Brewer’s office sent [Arizona] Secretary of State Ken Bennett a customary notification that she would be out of the state for a week. But her office has declined to disclose where she has gone. Her spokesman did not return emails or phone calls but told the Associated Press that he could not respond to questions about the governor’s whereabouts. 'No one, at least that works for her, is expressing concern,' [Matt Roberts, Bennett’s spokesman] said. 'They obviously know where she is, and they are not comfortable revealing that at this time.'"
Have Democrats Finally Found Someone To Challenge Mitch McConnell? Possibly, and her name is Ashley Judd. Politico: "The Hollywood movie star and eighth-generation Kentuckian is seriously exploring a 2014 run for the Senate to take on the powerful Republican leader, four people familiar with the matter tell POLITICO. In recent weeks, Judd has spoken with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) about the possibility of a run, has discussed a potential bid with a Democratic pollster and has begun to conduct opposition research on herself to see where she’s most vulnerable in the Bluegrass State, sources say."
XX Factor: How Ashley Judd Can Beat Mitch McConnell
Jovan Belcher's Final Hours: Kansas City Star: "Seconds after fatally shooting his longtime girlfriend, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher leaned over her in their master bathroom, said he was sorry and kissed her on the forehead. His mother, who heard gunfire as she stood in the kitchen, rushed to her son’s bedroom and watched his remorseful goodbye. Belcher apologized to his mother, kissed his 3-month-old daughter and fled his rented home in the 5400 block of Crysler Avenue in his Bentley." More details.
The Situation in Egypt: Reuters: "Egyptian police battled thousands of protesters outside President Mohamed Mursi's palace in Cairo on Tuesday, prompting the Islamist leader to leave the building, presidency sources said. Officers fired teargas at up to 10,000 demonstrators angered by Mursi's drive to hold a referendum on a new constitution on December 15. Some broke through police lines around his palace and protested next to the perimeter wall. The crowds had gathered nearby in what organizers had dubbed 'last warning' protests against Mursi, who infuriated opponents with a November 22 decree that expanded his powers. 'The people want the downfall of the regime,' the demonstrators chanted."
And in Syria: Associated Press: "Syria's civil war is closing in on President Bashar Assad's seat of power in Damascus with clashes between government forces and rebels flaring around the city Tuesday, raising fears the capital will become the next major battlefield in the 20-month-old conflict. Numerous reports emerged of at least a dozen people killed near the ancient city and elsewhere, and the regime said nine students and a teacher died from rebel mortar fire on a school. The state news agency originally said 30 people had been killed in the attack."
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