Some Non-Cliff Bits: AP: Dick Armey Gets $8 Million to Leave Freedom Works - http://abcn.ws/11PJEKg
Pete Townsend tells @jonkarl he's "a bit of a neocon" - http://yhoo.it/UmkEGa
The Diplomat Wears Prada - http://abcn.ws/Ud1wZ1
Jan Brewer Goes MIA, Sort Of - http://abcn.ws/UdqozP
Mr. Burns Explains the Fiscal Cliff (and Marco Rubio's Pink Handkerchief) - http://abcn.ws/QFFrGu
What we'll be watching tonight: Rubio and Ryan both address Jack Kemp foundation.
Bush Calls for 'Benevolent Spirit' in Immigration Reform - Univision's Emily Deruy reports - Former President George W. Bush called on lawmakers to tackle immigration reform with a "benevolent spirit" during a conference on immigration and economic growth Tuesday morning. The conference was intended to spotlight immigrants who have contributed meaningfully to the economic growth and culture of the country. "Immigrants come with new skills and new ideas," Bush said. "They fill a critical gap in the labor market." http://abcn.ws/QFz3z2
Daily Cliff Dive - Devin Dwyer wrapped all the cliff news. The lede is President Obama's interview earlier with Blooomberg, where he again insisted rates on the top 2 percent must go up. But he said he sees "potential" for averting the "fiscal cliff."
"We're going to have to see the rates on the top 2 percent go up and we're not going to be able to get a deal without it," Obama told Bloomberg TV in his first televised interview since the Nov. 6 election.
He argued the two sides are talking.
"Speaker Boehner and I speak frequently," he said. "I don't think the issue right now has to do with sitting in a room."
"Unfortunately, the speaker's proposal right now is still out of balance," Obama added, referring to the GOP plan unveiled Monday that would extend all income tax rates at current levels while imposing changes to Medicare and Social Security.
The full wrap is here - http://abcn.ws/Ud1wZ1
McConnell Won't Endorse Boehner Counter-Offer - Sunlen Miller Reports: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY., would not say definitively if he supports Speaker of the House John Boehner's proposal to avoid the fiscal cliff.
"It's important that the House Republican leadership is trying to move the process forward," McConnell said today following his party's weekly caucus lunch, "Frankly I had hoped we would be accomplishing more in the real talks that are going on privately. But I can tell you being aware of those, there's nothing going on privately that's not going on publically."
Tapper Points Out - President Obama during LAST YEAR's budget stand-off said: "What we said was give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking taxes - tax rates, but could simply be accomplished by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions and engaging in a tax reform process that could have lowered rates generally while broadening the base." ( Remarks, 7/22/11)
Today, however, he says the math doesn't work and the rates need to be raised.
Tapper asked this of Jay Carney today - Just a second ago you referred to - when talking about - how the debt ceiling, taking it off the table needs to be part of this deal, you referred to the economy being held hostage by an ideological few. You're aware that when he was a senator, President Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling? Answer here - http://abcn.ws/UEssW0
The Senate and Susan Rice and Angry Mobs in Benghazi - Jon Karl has this pop quiz: Who said this about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, shortly after it happened? "The violence in Benghazi coincided with an attack on the United States Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, which was also swarmed by an angry mob of protestors on September 11, 2012." Was it U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice? No, it was the United States Senate. The Senate passed a resolution the day after the attack in Benghazi, on Sept. 12, S. Res. 551. The resolution was updated and passed again Sept. 22 to add the names of those who had died. The original resolution and the update were approved by "Unanimous Consent," meaning that all 100 senators were officially listed as sponsors or co-sponsors. Neither resolution uses the words "terrorist" or "extremist" or "al-Qaeda." Both resolutions use the phrase "swarmed by an angry mob of protestors" to describe the attacks in Cairo and Benghazi. http://abcn.ws/YvQp61 White House Changes Tune on Puerto Rico - Univision's Jordan Fabian reports - The White House said Tuesday that a majority of Puerto Ricans backed statehood on a November ballot referendum on the island's political status, a change from its suggestion Monday that the result of the vote was unclear. "To clarify, the results were clear, the people of Puerto Rico want the issue of status resolved, and majority chose statehood in the second question," White House spokesman Luis Miranda said in a statement. "Now it is time for Congress to act and the administration will work with them on that effort, so that the people of Puerto Rico can determine their own future." http://abcn.ws/Svs1vc
The Back-Room Deal that Almost Produced Candidate Petraeus - Greg Krieg reports: David Petraeus running for president, with Fox News chief Roger Ailes as his campaign manager and News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch "bankrolling" the whole operation. That, as first reported in today's Washington Post story by Bob Woodward, was the broad strokes of an offer delivered by a Fox News contributor, on Ailes' behalf, during a meeting with the future, and now former, CIA director in the spring of 2011. The messenger was Kathleen T. McFarland, a Reagan administration veteran now on the Fox News payroll. She told Petraeus that the proposal came straight from Ailes' desk. Petraeus was uncomfortable from the start, clearly anxious about their discussion going public. He asked McFarland to confirm that their conversation was off the record and asked if anyone else was present when Ailes communicated his plan. She is heard on the tape confirming that it's all hush-hush. http://abcn.ws/YM5Cia
The Syria 'Red Line' - "We have made our views very clear. This is a red line for the United States. I'm not going to telegraph in any specifics what we would do in the event of credible evidence that the Assad regime has resorted to using chemical weapons against his own people, but suffice to say we are certainly planning to take action if that eventuality were to occur," Clinton said at a press conference in Prague. A U.S. official confirmed to ABC News that late last week U.S. intelligence determined that Syria, in addition to moving some of its chemical stockpiles, had taken preparatory steps with regards to some of the stockpile. http://abcn.ws/SDVq7P (Parnass and Hughes and Martinez)