Obama Warns Syria - President Obama today warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that the use of chemical weapons by his regime would be "totally unacceptable" and that he would be "held accountable." "I want to make it absolutely clear to Assad and those under his command, the world is watching," Obama said at the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction symposium in Washington. "The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable. And if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences, and you will be held accountable," he said. The president stopped short of detailing those consequences. http://abcn.ws/VskSwi (Mary Bruce)
Awkward Holiday Party - Less than two miles physically separates the White House from the House of Representatives, but the closest Barack Obama and John Boehner came to talking today was on Twitter and via hand-delivered letter.
Boehner will, however, go to the White House Christmas party today. If you consider Speaker of the House and President to be colleagues. Different branches, but the same government, you could call it the most uncomfortable office party of the year. http://abcn.ws/THKD9H
Boehner Counters Obama with 'Bold' Offer-It was just as Obama wrapped up a Twitter Q and A session on the fiscal cliff - "#My2k" is what they call it at the White House, emphasizing the effect a two thousand dollar average tax hike will have on the middle class - that the House GOP made their counter-offer public. John Parkinson reports: House Speaker John Boehner has submitted his counter-proposal to President Obama today in an attempt to break the stalemate perplexing lawmakers in the fiscal cliff negotiations.
In the offer, Republicans offer a total of $2.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade. That would give lawmakers enough savings to off-set $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts set to begin to take effect Jan. 2, 2013, but senior Republican aides said it does not explicitly include an offer to address the standoff over a debt limit increase. The GOP deal offers $800 billion in new revenue through tax reform, but Boehner insist that tax rates should not go up on the top 2 percent of taxpayers.
The offer also proposes $600 billion in health savings, $300 billion in additional mandatory savings, $300 billion in discretionary spending cuts, and $200 billion through revisions to the way the Consumer Price Index is calculated across federal pensions and programs like Social Security.
The president had asked for about $1.6 trillion in new revenue, including about $800 billion from allowing tax cuts on income over $250,000 a year expire. Obama also asked for about $400 billion in new stimulus spending.. http://abcn.ws/QCxBgO
Republicans have compared Boehner's offer it to the Bowles-Simpson plan. But the Bowles half of that duo said this:
Bowles: While I'm flattered the Speaker would call something "the Bowles plan," the approach outlined in the letter Speaker Boehner sent to the President does not represent the Simpson-Bowles plan, nor is it the Bowles plan…The Joint Select Committee failed to reach a deal, and circumstances have changed since then. It is up to negotiators to figure out where the middle ground is today. Every offer put forward brings us closer to a deal, but to reach an agreement, it will be necessary for both sides to move beyond their opening positions and reach agreement on a comprehensive plan which avoids the fiscal cliff and puts the debt on a clear downward path relative to the economy. Obama on Twitter Confronts Skeptics of Tax Hike for Rich- With talks to resolve the "fiscal cliff" at an impasse, President Obama today used Twitter to respond directly to skeptics of his plan to hike income tax rates on the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans at the end of the year.
The Obama Twitter Townhall - http://abcn.ws/TycOrW
What About that Mandate, Jay - Tapper pushes Carney on what exactly Obama promised during the campaign: TAPPER: But what I'm saying is he didn't campaign on, for instance, limiting the mortgage deduction for wealthier Americans or limiting the charity deduction for wealthier Americans. Those were not items that he talked about on the campaign trail. CARNEY: He talked explicitly and broadly about his approach on this issue, which included letting rates return to Clinton-era levels for the top 2 percent and included, broadly, $1.6 trillion in revenues from the wealthiest. And if you look at his proposals - and we were very explicit about this both here in Washington, when we were engaged in legislative negotiations with Congress, and broadly throughout the year - those proposals included - I mean, I've talked numerous times about - last year and the year before about capping deductions at 28 percent for the wealthiest - TAPPER: Yeah - I followed the president on the campaign trail, I didn't hear him really talk about - CARNEY: Well, he did, Jake. I mean - and he would - he would - certainly, when engaged with reporters on discussions about his detailed plan, he would talk about this. This is something that - http://abcn.ws/QCu0j1
Debbie Wasserman Schultz Remains at DNC - http://abcn.ws/Ul3CIu
Conservatives Sound Off on Bob Costas' Halftime Gun Control Push- Conservatives are taking aim at "Sunday Night Football" sportscaster Bob Costas for his halftime push for gun control. http://abcn.ws/YreL0X
Congress, Car Salespeople Rated Least Honest- What do Congressional representatives, car salespeople and advertising practitioners have in common? They're among the professions with the lowest perceived honesty rating, polling shows. http://abcn.ws/11HDFXY