Ron Paul's Farewell Speech - "Our Constitution, which was intended to limit government power and abuse, has failed," Paul said. "The Founders warned that a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people. The current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified." - Chris Good's write-up of his 52-minute farewell speech is here - http://abcn.ws/Uq50Yo
Mitt Romney's Farewell Donor Call - Sees Gifts to Interest Groups - Romney: "The President's campaign focused on giving targeted groups a big gift-so he made a big effort on small things. Those small things, by the way, add up to trillions of dollars." - http://lat.ms/ZLTDiP
David Muir had audio on World News
Devin Dwyer points to Obama's reaction when asked if he'd go ahead with promise to invite Romney over for a chat - http://abcn.ws/PV145h
Today in Petraeus - He'll testify before Congress this week, Broadwell loses security clearance, Allen will cooperate with DOD IG inquiry, Socialite Kelley loses VIP status - http://abcn.ws/T3Hc0E
Obama's McCain Whiplash - President Barack Obama mentioned John McCain twice during his first post-election press conference.
First he pointed to McCain as a potential partner on comprehensive immigration reform that leads to permanent status for undocumented immigrants. "This used to be a bipartisan issue," Obama said.
Then, a few minutes later he issued the national political equivalent of a schoolyard challenge at McCain. It had to do with roadblocks McCain said he'd put in front of Susan Rice if Obama nominates her to Secretary of State.
"If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. And I'm happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received and to besmirch her reputation is outrageous."
McCain and Graham shot right back at Obama after the press conference. http://abcn.ws/THooSE
That's the tight rope stretched from the Capitol Dome down to the White House and back. Averting the fiscal cliff, accomplishing immigration reform, and any other legislative work will have to be done in and around a still-toxic political environment and calls for a Watergate-style commission.
Obama Sees Mandate on Taxes in Election Results - "I mean, this shouldn't be a surprise to anybody. This was - if there was one thing that everybody understood was a big difference between myself and Mr. Romney, it was, when it comes to how we reduce our deficit, I argued for a balanced, responsible approach, and part of that included making sure that the wealthiest Americans pay a little bit more."
He said he's not drawing a line in the sand on raising tax rates for the wealthy, but, "it's very difficult to see how you make up that trillion dollars, if we're serious about deficit reduction, just by closing loopholes in deductions. You know, the math tends not to work."
Bottom Line: In order to keep the economy from hurtling off the fiscal cliff, the lawmakers and the president need to figure out how to raise taxes without raising tax rates.
Here's the full press conference write-up from Devin Dwyer. It includes Obama's claim that no national security has been compromised by the Petraeus affair. http://abcn.ws/TIvNkx Full Transcript: http://abcn.ws/T1R0qN
Pelosi Sticks Around - Cites Democrats' Majority Minority/Woman Caucus - http://abcn.ws/RYs1TU
Secession Backlash - http://abcn.ws/ZwgrUk (Chris Good)
Seceding States Big Winners of Federal Funds - States with the highest number of signatures on their petitions to wriggle out of the union took at least $10 million in federal funding in 2010. Texas, with over 100,000 signatures on its petition, took the most - over $40 million. And now its capitol city is threatening to secede. More on the secession wrap from Sarah Parnass - http://abcn.ws/TIMcp7
Obama's Push for Immigration Reform - More from Univision's Jordan Fabian - The president voiced support for a "pathway to legal status" for undocumented immigrants not engaged in criminal activity and who are "here simply to work." That process would involve paying back taxes, learning English, and potentially paying fines. The White House later clarified those who go through the process of earning legal status would eventually be eligible for citizenship. http://abcn.ws/T1PJAh
Majority Supports Path to Citizenship; Greater Division on Other Social Issues-Most Americans support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, an issue that may be high on the agenda of newly re-elected President Obama and the 113th Congress, given the increased importance of nonwhites - including Hispanic voters - in the nation's political equation. http://abcn.ws/SL249b (Greg Holyk)
Jon Karl's Full Interview With Paul Ryan - http://yhoo.it/RUwQ27
George P. Bush Preps Run for Texas Lands Commish - http://abcn.ws/XGuJCu (Hartfield)
Claire McCaskill, Emily's List Celebrate Women's Wins in 2012-With a record-breaking 20 women headed to the U.S. Senate next year, and with 80 percent of its endorsed candidates winning in 2012, Emily's List, a group dedicated to electing Democratic women to office, had a lot to celebrate. http://abcn.ws/UGZgtY (Chris Good)
2012's Most Compelling International Elections-As voters in the United States have just cooled down from the 2012 election season, contests across the globe are just heating up. http://abcn.ws/SoSx7f (Jilian Fama)
Maine's Angus King to Caucus With Senate Democrats-Maine's newly elected Independent senator-elect, Angus King, announced today that he'll caucus with the Democrats in the Senate, boosting the party's control to 55 seats, compared with 45 held by Republicans in the new Congress. http://abcn.ws/ZtPGA7 (Sunlen Miller)