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The Return of Romney: Politico: "Mitt Romney’s campaign ended, but he’s not getting out of politics. Romney told top Washington bundlers, donors and senior campaign leadership in a meeting Friday morning that he would help out GOP candidates for governor in 2013, during the upcoming midterm elections and the 2016 presidential race, according to two people who attended the meeting. Romney also made clear his ambition for elected office has ended, according to another source present. Romney has stayed out of the limelight since Election Day, leaving many to wonder if he would keep a lower profile or even leave politics all together. 'We lost, but I’m not going away,' Romney told the crowd, according to a person who attended the meeting. 'I will continue to help.'"
Court Says Obama Overstepped (While Lawmakers Were on Vacation): A federal appeals court offered an unexpected rebuke to the president today, ruling that he violated the Constitution last year when he bypassed the Senate to fill a trio of vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board. The Associated Press: "The unanimous decision is an embarrassing setback for the president, who made the appointments after Senate Republicans spent months blocking his choices for an agency they contended was biased in favor of unions. The ruling also throws into question Obama's recess appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray's appointment, also made under the recess circumstance, has been challenged in a separate case."
Wait, Come Again?: The Constitution allows the president to make such appointments without Senate approval when the chamber is not in session. Because of that, the White House contends that Obama followed the letter of the law because these particular appointments came while lawmakers were away from Washington during a 20-day holiday recess. The panel, however, didn't buy that argument because of a procedural technicality employed by Republicans to prevent such action. Basically, GOP lawmakers ensured that the Senate technically stayed in session despite the absence of nearly the entire upper chamber by quickly gaveling the body in and out every few days for what is known in Beltway-speak as "pro forma" sessions. While it was Republicans who were behind the the maneuver this time, Democrats have used the same trick in the past to handcuff Republican presidents as well.
Where This Is Headed: Washington Post: "The ruling acknowledged that it conflicts in parts with what other federal appeals courts have held about recess appointments. The issue is likely to be decided by the Supreme Court."
12 Inches of Sorry: Associated Press: "Subway is apologizing that its 'Footlong' sandwiches fell short of expectations. The world's largest fast-food chain faced widespread criticism last week after a man posted a photo online showing a 'Footlong' next to a tape measure that showed it to be just 11 inches. Subway said Friday that it's redoubling efforts to "ensure consistency and correct length" in all its sandwiches. ... In a statement Friday, Subway expressed 'regret' for 'any instance where we did not fully deliver on our promise to our customers.'"
The Senate Will Lose Its Coolest Name: New York Times: "Senator Saxby Chambliss, the Georgia Republican who helped lead efforts to find a bipartisan deficit reduction compromise, announced on Friday that he would retire at the end of 2014, a decision likely to set off a battle on the Republican Party’s right flank for a successor. Already, organizations backed by the Tea Party were stirring interest in a primary challenge for Mr. Chambliss over his embrace of new revenues as a part of any comprehensive deficit package. Representatives Tom Price and Paul Broun, two Republican doctors and ardent conservatives from Georgia, had expressed interest in a possible challenge. But without Mr. Chambliss in the picture, the Senate contest in Georgia could shape up to be a battle royale on the right." Yes, Herman Cain's name is already being floated as a possible candidate.
Moneybox: How Democrats Will Win the Budget Debate
Obama's New Chief of Staff: Washington Post: "President Obama announced a shake-up of his top White House personnel on Friday, naming deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough as new chief of staff and saying good-bye to longtime senior adviser David Plouffe, a key architect of his political strategy. Obama promoted McDonough, one of his most trusted and loyal deputies, to oversee White House operations as the administration tackles its major second-term legislative initiatives, including gun control measures, immigration reform and tax and budget issues." 5 Things to Know About Denis McDonough, Obama's New Chief of Staff
The Coming Immigration Push: Reuters: "President Barack Obama plans to launch his second-term push for an immigration overhaul during a visit to Nevada next week in a bid to win congressional approval of a reform package this year, the White House said on Friday. Obama, who met leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, plans to use a trip to Las Vegas on Tuesday to 'redouble our efforts to make to make comprehensive immigration reform a reality,' White House spokesman Jay Carney said. He said Obama's proposals would largely be based on a 'blueprint' the president put forth in a policy speech he delivered on the border near El Paso, Texas, in 2011, but which never made it into legislation."
A Quick Peek at What's Happening In Egypt: Reuters: "Five people were shot dead in the Egyptian city of Suez during nationwide protests against President Mohamed Mursi on Friday, the second anniversary of the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. ... Thousands of opponents of Mursi massed in Cairo's Tahrir Square - the cradle of the revolt against Mubarak - to rekindle the demands of a revolution they say has been hijacked by Islamists who have betrayed its goals."
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