POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/28
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was “remarkably candid” in a recent speech about the problems holding his party together during his fiscal cliff negotiations with President Obama, The Hill reports.
Said Boehner: “You have no idea the suspicions and the undercurrents that it caused, frankly, a lot of my members. It really has, in fact, caused somewhat of a breach that I’ve been in the middle of trying to repair.”
He added: “Some of our members don’t realize that while I may be a nice enough guy, and I get along with people, when I was voting I had the 8th most conservative voting record in the House. But a lot of our newer members – they don’t know that. And so, you know, they think I’m some squish, that I’m ready to sell them out in a heartbeat, when obviously, most of you in this room know that that ain’t quite who I am.”
“A brand new conservative group calling itself Americans for a Strong Defense and financed by anonymous donors is running advertisements urging Democratic senators in five states to vote against Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee to be secretary of defense,” the New York Times reports.
“Another freshly minted and anonymously backed organization, Use Your Mandate, which presents itself as a liberal gay rights group but purchases its television time through a prominent Republican firm, is attacking Mr. Hagel as ‘anti-Gay,’ ‘anti-woman’ and ‘anti-Israel’ in ads and mailers.”
“Those groups are joining at least five others that are organizing to stop Mr. Hagel’s confirmation, a goal even they acknowledge appears to be increasingly challenging. But the effort comes with a built-in consolation prize should it fail: depleting some of Mr. Obama’s political capital as he embarks on a new term with fresh momentum.”
As Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner leaves office, the Chicago Tribune notes “he was clear about one thing he won’t be doing in the future — running the Federal Reserve.”
Said Geithner: “Not a chance. I have great respect for the institution, but that will be someone else’s privilege.”
Financial Times: Geithner leaves with reputation enhanced.
Matt Taibbi isn’t pleased with President Obama’s pick of former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White to head the SEC.
“I thought to myself: Couldn’t they have found someone who wasn’t a key figure in one of the most notorious scandals to hit the SEC in the past two decades? And couldn’t they have found someone who isn’t a perfect symbol of the revolving-door culture under which regulators go soft on suspected Wall Street criminals, knowing they have million-dollar jobs waiting for them at hotshot defense firms as long as they play nice with the banks while still in office?”
Rex Nutting: “Of all the falsehoods told about President Barack Obama, the biggest whopper is the one about his reckless spending spree… Almost everyone believes that Obama has presided over a massive increase in federal spending, an ‘inferno’ of spending that threatens our jobs, our businesses and our children’s future. Even Democrats seem to think it’s true.”
“But it didn’t happen. Although there was a big stimulus bill under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s.”
Said Palin: “I was raised to never retreat and to pick battles wisely, and all in due season. When it comes to defending our republic, we haven’t begun to fight! But we delight in those who underestimate us.”
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) tells the AP he will not seek re-election in 2014.
Said the 73-year old Harkin: “It’s just time to step aside.”
“The announcement comes as a surprise, considering he had $2.7 million in his campaign war chest and was planning a fundraiser next month.”
“Three women angry over sexism and male domination of the world economy ripped off their shirts and tried to force their way into a gathering of corporate elites in a Swiss resort,” the AP reports.
“Predictably, they failed. The ubiquitous and huge security force policing the World Economic Forum in Davos carried the women away, kicking and screaming.”
The Fix: “One source close to the situation suggest that the relationship’s evolution from rivals to friends stems from simply spending lots (and lots) of time together over the past four years — particularly on foreign travel. Familiarity, in this case, bred camaraderie not contempt, it seems.”
“When the detente began exactly is somewhat hard to trace although one Democrat suggested that it all started when Hillary and Bill Clinton both spoke at the 2008 party convention.”
Nevada Assemblyman Steven Brooks (D) has been detained by police for a psychiatric evaluation after a disturbance at his grandmother’s house, the Las Vegas Sun reports.
Police said Brooks “was exhibiting what was described as bizarre behavior” and seized a sword from him.
The detainment is the latest development since last weekend, when Brooks was arrested on charges of threatening the life of Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick.
“As he heads into a second term with sweeping ambition in an era of gridlock, President Obama is assembling a new White House team that looks much like the old one, choosing familiarity over freshness even at the risk of insularity,” the New York Times reports.
“While aides played musical chairs, moving up and moving around to new positions, the overall continuity suggested that Mr. Obama felt no need to inject new energy into a team that brought him through re-election last year. Buffeted by one crisis after another, the president prefers to stick with the circle of advisers he has come to trust through four tumultuous years in office, wary of introducing new personalities after some unsuccessful experiments in his first term.”
President Obama “made a big gamble last January when he issued four recess appointments during a three-day break between meetings of the Senate — and with the court ruling Friday broadly undercutting his ability to make such appointments, he may have lost even bigger,” Politico reports.
Legal experts say the president “almost certainly did not anticipate the gamble going as spectacularly sour as it did Friday when a federal appeals court not only invalidated the three NLRB appointments but cut the heart out of the recess appointment power presidents of both parties have wielded for two centuries.”
Washington Post: “The issue seems certain to end up before the Supreme Court, which ultimately could clarify a president’s authority to fill his administration and appoint federal judges when a minority of the Senate blocks consideration of his choices.”