PM Note: Bob Dole Hospitalized, the Naked Toy Factory Traveling Road Show, Susan Rice’s Charm Offensive

Nov 27, 2012 6:07pm

Bob Dole, former senator and presidential candidate, hospitalized – http://abcn.ws/SoHBdk

The Naked Toy Factory Traveling Road Show  - Here’s one way to look at it: 32 days before the fiscal cliff arrives, President Obama won’t be hashing out deals, he’ll be pressuring Republicans to raise taxes on the rich ahead of Christmas season from a toy factory.

We’ve been wracking our brains trying to find a clever way to weave the naked Boehner protesters into the fiscal talks.

But we’re at kind of a loss since saying the fiscal cliff has no clothes doesn’t really make sense. Clearly somebody isn’t wearing any clothes. Is it Boehner or Obama? Either one side or the other will have to cave on tax rates or entitlements or the steam engine that is the U.S. economy will go over that fiscal cliff or gentle decline or whatever you want to call it.

The partisan framing on the fiscal cliff will continue through the week.  And beyond.

It’s been mentioned that as long as the principals are not in the closed door negotiations and the legal monks that actually hash these things out are in talks, maybe that’s a step in the right direction.

But make no mistake, as the president likes to say, we’re 35 days from the fiscal cliff and the newly reelected president has plans at the end of the week not to be hashing out details, but instead to visit a toy factory. He’ll pressure Republicans to extend tax cuts on the middle class and raise them on the rich people. We’re pretty sure they’re going for an Obama as George Bailey and Boehner as Mr. Potter kind of a thing.

Is that really such a wonderful life? Weren’t the political campaigns supposed to be done for a spell?

Republicans are naturally a little peeved, although Boehner is doing his own bit of politicking with an out-of-negotiation meeting with the ‘Fix the Debt’ people. White House staffers will follow suit.

“We’re not going to solve this problem by creating villains and drumming up outrage,” said Mitch McConnell. “We’ll solve the problem by doing the hard work of sitting down, figuring out a solution that involves tough choices on all sides.”

Carney justified the toy trip: “Only inside the Beltway do people think that sitting in a room for a photo spray will solve, necessarily, problems. The work has to be done, and that work is being done, and everybody needs to, as the president said, agree to the principle that compromise will require tough choices by every — each side. And the president is willing to do that and has demonstrated his willingness to do that.”

Devin Dwyer, John Parkinson and Sunlen Miller wrap the cliff today – http://abcn.ws/V0AVir

The Three Filter Test – Until one of these three things happens, a rival political team argues, you can stop worrying about the fiscal cliff and start worrying about your holiday cards.

1.       When HOUSE GOP starts talking about raising RATES (not revenues). (Senators  are self-important bystanders in this, he says)
2.       When Obama stops talking about raising marginal RATES.
3.       When Obama starts talking about raising the Medicare Eligibility Age (or some other eligibility requirement). http://slate.me/V4JadF

That’s a clever little device. But there is already some squishiness among some House Republicans. We’ve been paying particular attention to the ones who are retiring or got thrown out by voters.

Some of the recent demands:

Harry Reid – A deal must include an increase to the debt limit. He says it has to be a package deal.
“On first of all, the debt ceiling, we would be somewhat foolish to work out something on stopping us from going over the cliff and then a month of six weeks later, the Republicans would pull the same game they did before and say, ‘We’re not going to do anything unless this happens, or we’re not going to agree to increasing the debt (inaudible) — debt ceiling.’ I agree with the president. We can’t — it has to be a package deal.”

Dick Durbin – A deal shouldn’t mess with Medicare too much – http://abcn.ws/Rh24Cv

Susan Rice Charm Offensive Backfire - Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham Lieberman breaks with McCain and Graham over Susan Rice – Susan Rice’s attempt at a charm offensive backfired with the three Republican senators who have made it their mission to hold administration feet to the fire over the 9/11 attack ont he consulate in Benghazi. Later int he day, Joe Lieberman, once one of the three amigos with Graham and McCain, gave her some much-needed support –  http://abcn.ws/TjDEEc

WWRJD – What Will Jay Rockefeller Do? - Shelly Moore Capito seeks his seat – Elizabeth Hartfield reports: Two big names who have a long-standing family drama could face-off in West Virginia in November, 2014, making the Mountain State’s senate race for the seat held by incumbent Jay Rockefeller the first must-watched senate race of 2014.
Yes, the midterm elections in 2014 are still roughly two years away, and many more Senate, gubernatorial and House races will emerge as races to follow between now and then. But the announcement by Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito that she will run for Senate in West Virginia jump-started the first contest. Capito, 59, is a six-term Congresswoman for the state’s 2nd congressional district. She’s the first Republican woman elected to represent the state, and from her first term in 2001 until 2010 she was the only Republican in the state’s congressional delegation. The seat Capito is seeking is currently held by Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, grandson of John D. Rockefeller, who has held his seat since 1985. Rockefeller, 75, hasn’t announced if he’ll run again or if he’ll retire. The senior senator has been coy when asked about his plans. http://abcn.ws/Y0Y7VJ

Justice Dept, House Seek to Resolve Fast n Furious Standoff - The Justice Department said Tuesday that they will try to settle a lawsuit seeking to enforce a subpoena sought by the House Oversight and Government Reform committee to obtain documents related to the ATF’s botched gun trafficking case Operation Fast and Furious. Ian Gershengorn, the Justice Department deputy assistant attorney general,  and House General Counsel Kerry Kircher said the two sides would be meeting shortly to discuss a possible settlement. abcn.ws/VbVbUu s (Jason Ryan)

Gay Marriage Comes to the Supreme Court Friday-When the nine Supreme Court justices retreat behind closed doors Friday for their regularly scheduled conference, they will consider the issue of gay marriage and decide whether to take up a case that could ultimately determine whether there is a fundamental right to same-sex marriage.http://abcn.ws/UTxFaS (Ariane DeVogue)

Dems Give Obama a Nudge on China – Schumer on a Treasury Department currency report : “This report all but admits China’s currency is being manipulated, but stops short of saying so explicitly. The formal designation matters because there can be no penalties without it. It’s time for the Obama administration to rip off the band-aid, and force China to play by the same rules as all other countries.”

Retiring Republicans Unveil Alternative To DREAM Act – A group of Senate Republicans on Tuesday formally rolled out DREAM Act-style legislation that would allow certain undocumented youth to eventually gain legal status. The bill, introduced by Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Jon Kyl (R-Texas) and dubbed the ACHIEVE Act, would offer a pathway to permanent residency to young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. by their parents who are seeking a higher education or military service. The bill stops short of providing a separate pathway to citizenship. “We have to get this ball rolling” on a sensible approach to immigration, Kyl said at a press conference in the Capitol. “This particular part of immigration reform seemed a logical place to begin.” Both Hutchison and Kyl are retiring at the end of this Congress, so it is unclear whether the bill will gain traction among lawmakers in the lame-duck session or next year. A top Democratic aide said there is virtually no time to move an immigration bill during the lame-duck session with ongoing negotiations over the fiscal cliff.
http://abcn.ws/SoF8zG (Univision’s Jordan Fabian)

Mexico’s New President To Talk Immigration, Drug War, Trade With President Obama – http://abcn.ws/Qou31Q  (Univision’s Jordan Fabian)

Romney Campaign Merchandise Priced to Sell-What’s a retailer to do with merchandise branded to support a failed presidential candidate? Put it on clearance.http://abcn.ws/WTN7rE (Sarah Parnass)

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