Posted Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, at 4:33 PM
Barack Obama arrives at an announcement on gun reform in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House December 19, 2012 in Washington, D.C.
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.
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Obama's Gun-Control Promise: New York Times: "President Obama declared Wednesday that he would make gun control a 'central issue' as he opens a second term, submitting broad new gun control proposals to Congress no later than January and committing the power of his office to overcoming political opposition in the wake of last week’s school massacre. The president’s pledge came as House Republicans restated their firm opposition to enacting any new limits on firearms or ammunition, setting up the possibility of a philosophical clash over the Second Amendment early in Mr. Obama’s second term."
The Specifics: Washington Post: "White House officials say the eventual package of proposals is likely to include new restrictions on guns, particularly assault weapons, and high-capacity magazines. But they say it will also probably involve measures that touch on mental health initiatives and, as Obama noted Wednesday, a close look 'at a culture that, all too often, glorifies guns and violence.'"
The Task Force: Associated Press: "He tasked Vice President Joe Biden with leading an administration-wide effort to create the new recommendations and pledged to push for their implementation without delay. ... Obama also tasked the Biden-led team with considering ways to improve mental health resources and address ways to create a culture that doesn't promote violence. The departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security, along with outside groups and lawmakers, will all be part of the process. Biden's prominent role in the process could be an asset for the White House in getting gun legislation through Congress. The vice president spent decades in the Senate and has been called on by Obama before to use his long-standing relationships with lawmakers to build support for White House measures."
Brown Changes His Mind: MassLive.com: "Although he once said banning so-called assault weapons fell under the category of issues best left to the states, Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown told MassLive.com in an exclusive interview Wednesday that he now supports federal action. ... 'What happened in Newtown where those children were subject to that level of violence is beyond my comprehension. As a state legislator in Massachusetts I supported an assault weapons ban thinking other states would follow suit. But unfortunately, they have not and innocent people are being killed,' Brown said. 'As a result, I support a federal assault weapons ban, perhaps like the legislation we have in Massachusetts.'"
The Cliff: Washington Post: "President Obama urged congressional Republicans Wednesday to return to the bargaining table over the year-end 'fiscal cliff,' saying the two sides are far too close to the big budget deal they’ve been seeking for the past two years to give up now. ... House Speaker John A. Boehner and other GOP leaders have been frantically trying to gather support for a fallback plan ... . Boehner’s 'Plan B' would extend the Bush-era tax cuts for everyone who earns less than $1 million a year. Earlier in the day, the White House said Obama would veto Boehner’s Plan B bill. But the House speaker struck back at the president at a midafternoon press conference in which he spoke for less than a minute and took no questions."
Weigel: Boehner: Gone in 51 Seconds
Benghazi Fallout: Associated Press: "Three State Department officials resigned under pressure Wednesday, less than a day after a damning report blamed management failures for a lack of security at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, where militants killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans on Sept. 11. ... Obama administration officials said those who had stepped down were Eric Boswell, the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, Charlene Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary responsible for embassy security, and Raymond Maxwell, the deputy assistant secretary of state who oversees the Maghreb nations of Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco."
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Former SCOTUS Nominee Dead at 85: Wall Street Journal: "Robert Bork, a conservative jurist and legal theorist whose failed 1987 nomination to the Supreme Court helped set the tone for contentious and partisan confirmation hearings, has died at age 85. ... At the time of his high-court nomination, Mr. Bork was no stranger to political controversy. He had earlier became perhaps the best-known Solicitor General in U.S. history when, as acting Attorney General in 1973, he fired Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox after Elliot Richardson and William Ruckelshaus each resigned rather than carry out the firing that President Richard Nixon had ordered. The episode went down in history as the 'Saturday Night Massacre,' and Mr. Bork was criticized for bending to the president's will."
Weigel: Robert Bork, 1927-2012
Moneybox: Robert Bork and Antitrust Economics
"An Unrepentant Reactionary": Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker: "Robert Bork, who died Wednesday, was an unrepentant reactionary who was on the wrong side of every major legal controversy of the twentieth century. The fifty-eight senators who voted against Bork for confirmation to the Supreme Court in 1987 honored themselves, and the Constitution. In the subsequent quarter-century, Bork devoted himself to proving that his critics were right about him all along."
Selling GM: Reuters: "The U.S. Treasury plans to sell its stake in General Motors Co. over the coming year, all but assuring a multibillion-dollar loss in a move that will end the automaker's 'Government Motors' era. Treasury's plan—a two-step process that includes a $5.5 billion stock sale to GM—is part of a broader push to wind down the controversial financial bailout under the Troubled Asset Relief program. ... The planned GM sale will raise the proceeds that Treasury has recovered to $28.6 billion of the $50 billion bailout GM received. With $20.9 billion left from the original bailout, the government would have to sell its remaining shares at an average price of $69.72 to break even. GM shares were up 6.5 percent at $27.14 on Wednesday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange."
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