THE OUTSIDERS: We've heard little to nothing from the outside groups that bankrolled much of the 2012 election. We would suspect that the Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity and other such groups are soon going to make their voiced heard on any potential fiscal cliff deal. Tim Phillips, the Americans for Prosperity head, recently took a hard-line on tax increases in an Op-Ed for TownHall.com: "Raising taxes is not only bad for Americans and the economy; it also fails to address the government spending crisis. We must balance our budget by reducing spending. Congress has already made the tough choices by determining to cut $109 billion from the budget, now it just has to stay the course and make sure the cuts happen."
NOT THEIR CUP OF TEA? As we've noted before, the fact that the Tea Party class of 2010 has been so quiet is rather surprising. Will they remain as compliant once the outlines of a deal come to light?
THE BULLY PULPIT: Will Obama play a more hands on role? Will we see him more active behind the scenes or will he retreat to his familiar stance of allowing Congressional leadership do the heavy lifting? Last week, The New York Times also reported that the president might "occasionally" make campaign-like stops around the country to sell a deal to the American people.
RYAN'S ROLE: And speaking of key players, erstwhile vice presidential hopeful Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., is also expected to play an important role in the negotiations. As the Washington Post notes, Ryan, along with Reps. Dave Camp and Fred Upton were tapped by Speaker Boehner to be on the GOP's core team of fiscal cliff managers. "Republicans want their best players on the field during the fiscal cliff conversation," veteran GOP strategist Ron Bonjean told The Post. "If Paul Ryan decided not to participate, it would squander his political capital rather than enhance it." http://wapo.st/RShk5H
WITHER GROVER? Can long-time anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist hold his coalition together or will the lame-duck negotiations signal his waning influence? Hundreds of Republican members have signed the Americans for Tax Freedom's chief's pledge not to raise taxes, but as The Los Angeles' Times Doyle McManus notes today: "an increasing number of Republicans are sidling away from Norquist's pledge and reassessing their resistance to any kind of tax increase." http://lat.ms/XzrVZf
LET THE LIBERAL PRESSURE BEGIN: UNION ADS TARGET DEMOCRATS ON FISCAL CLIFF. Three major unions have joined forces to air ads pressuring Democrats to reject GOP demands as party leaders negotiate a way to sidestep the dreaded "fiscal cliff." With negotiations in their early phases, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Workers (AFSCME); the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); and the National Education Association (NEA) have teamed up to air TV and radio ads pressuring moderate Senate Democrats to reject spending cuts and focus more heavily on tax hikes. According to AFSCME, the ads are supported by a "sizable, six-figure ad buy." Ads are airing in Colorado, Missouri and Virginia. The ads target Michael Bennet and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), and Jim Webb and Mark Warner (D-Va.). All five are considered moderates. WATCH: http://abcn.ws/10oHJeY
with ABC's Chris Good (@c_good)