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Obama's Final First-Term Presser: Washington Post: "President Obama vowed Monday that he would not negotiate with Republicans over the federal debt ceiling, warning that Social Security checks would be delayed and the nation could enter a new recession if Republicans do not agree to raise the limit on government borrowing. In the final news conference of his first term, Obama said Republicans were threatening to hold 'a gun at the head of the American people' and that he would not trade spending cuts, as Republicans demand, for an agreement to raise the federal debt ceiling."
Gun-Control Hints: New York Times: "Obama disclosed that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. had already presented him with proposals to combat gun violence and promised to unveil them publicly later this week. He said his package would include a ban on assault weapons and on high-capacity magazines, as well as expanded background checks. But he declined to say how hard he would push for an assault weapons ban, and acknowledged that it and other gun measures might not pass."
"I Like a Good Party": Politico: "'With respect to this truism about me not socializing enough, patting folks on the back and all that stuff, most people who know me know I’m a pretty friendly guy. And I like a good party,' [Obama] said when asked about how his lack of a personal connection to senior Republicans was souring the tenor of debt ceiling and sequester talks. ... House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) played golf with Obama once, and they nearly struck a grand bargain on taxes and spending over drinks afterwards. Obama professed to have a blast, but now Boehner has vowed not to negotiate with the president one-on-one after a series of less productive encounters — highlighted, Republicans say, by lengthy Obama lectures and much eye-rolling."
Happy Monday and welcome back to The Slatest PM, where your afternoon host—somewhat surprisingly—managed to avoid both the flu and and serious injury during his family ski trip. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees and the whole team at @slatest.
The Sandy Hook Promise: New York Times: "Several parents whose children were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting joined the national debate on gun violence on Monday, gathering [in Newtown] to begin sketching their response to the massacre by helping start a nonprofit organization intended to help prevent the kind of bloodshed that turned this quaint New England community into a national symbol of grief. In some of their first public statements since the Dec. 14 shooting ... the families of 11 of the children and adult victims appeared at a news conference and called for a national dialogue around issues of mental health, school safety and what their organization, called Sandy Hook Promise, described as "gun responsibility.'"
The Slatest: What Should Newtown Do With Sandy Hook Elementary?
New York Gun Control: Wall Street Journal: "New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers are close to a deal on gun-control measures that would make New York the first state U.S. to pass new firearms restrictions after the Newtown, Conn., school shooting. The package includes provisions to ban high-capacity ammunition clips, a stricter assault weapons ban and increased penalties for some gun crimes. It could be voted on as soon as Monday, said state Sen. Jeff Klein, the chamber's top Democrat in a power-sharing arrangement with Republicans."
Saying Sorry: Associated Press: "Lance Armstrong apologized to the staff at his Livestrong cancer foundation before heading to an interview with Oprah Winfrey, a person with direct knowledge of the meeting told The Associated Press. ... Armstrong addressed the staff Monday and said, 'I'm sorry.' The person said the disgraced cyclist choked up and several employees cried during the session. The person also said Armstrong apologized for letting the staff down and putting Livestrong at risk but he did not make a direct confession to the group about using banned drugs."
Reddit Co-Founder Faced Jail Time: Boston Globe: "During plea talks held in the months before his death, federal prosecutors told Aaron Swartz and his attorney that the computer prodigy must spend six months behind bars and plead guilty to 13 federal crimes in order to resolve the criminal case short of a trial. Swartz’s lead defense attorney, Elliot Peters, said today that both he and Swartz rejected the plea deal offered by the office of US Attorney Carmen Ortiz, and instead were pushing for a trial where federal prosecutors would have been forced to publicly justify their pursuit of Swartz."
When the Law Is Worse Than the Crime: Emily Bazelon asks Why was a prosecutor allowed to intimidate Aaron Swartz for so long?
Record High Military Suicides: Associated Press: "Suicides in the U.S. military surged to a record 349 last year, far exceeding American combat deaths in Afghanistan, and some private experts are predicting the dark trend will worsen this year. The Pentagon has struggled to deal with the suicides, which Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and others have called an epidemic. The problem reflects severe strains on military personnel burdened with more than a decade of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, complicated by anxiety over the prospect of being forced out of a shrinking force."
Apple Cuts Orders For iPhone Parts: Wall Street Journal: "Apple Inc. has cut its component orders for the iPhone 5 because of weaker-than-expected demand, people familiar with the situation said Monday, indicating sales of the latest smartphone haven't been as strong as anticipated. ... The move came as the company has been facing greater challenges from Samsung Electronics Co. and other makers of smartphones powered by Google Inc.'s Android operating system. Apple has set the agenda for the smartphone market since it released its first iPhone in 2007."
The Latest From Mali: AFP: "Islamist forces on Monday seized control of a town in a fresh attack on Mali's government-held south and vowed to strike 'at the heart' of France as it waged a fourth day of airstrikes against them. French warplanes hit Islamist positions in Douentza, 800 kilometres (500 miles) north of the capital, residents reported, after bombing munitions and fuel stockpiles as well as bases in the key cities of Gao and Kidal over the weekend." The Associated Press, meanwhile, offers a closer look at the west African nation.
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