By SHUSHANNAH WALSHE ( @shushwalshe )
Terms like Civil War have been thrown around now for a while, but the fight between establishment Republicans and the Tea Party is very real and both sides are ready to throw down. Speaker John Boehner has stayed away from directly criticizing those in his caucus who have tried to undermine him, but not anymore.
For two days in a row Boehner criticized tea partiers and other outside conservative groups critical of the budget deal. On Thursday he lashed out saying they are "misleading" their followers and have "lost all credibility." Rep. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Chairman, is also hitting back telling ABC "you have to make some common ground decisions to get things done."
So, what does the other side think? "It's just another example of D.C. elitism. They think they know what's best for the rest of the country and they want us to just sit down and shut up," Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, told ABC News Thursday.
And in two op-eds today at Breitbart both Rand Paul and Sarah Palin are fighting back with Paul, a possible 2016 candidate, calling it a "charade" and Palin warning "we'll be watching." As for Ryan he isn't worried about how the deal may affect his presidential prospects. Much more on The Fight in today's Note:
ABC's JEFF ZELENY: What explains the overwhelming House vote on the budget deal? It's the most telling sign yet that House Republicans learned a lesson from the government shutdown and are eager to avoid a repeat episode. Speaker John Boehner and his team were pushing for a big margin and they got one: 332 to 94. Call it a course correction from the House action this fall that led to the 16-day shutdown. But with Tea Party and outside conservative groups still strongly opposed to the deal, will any House Republicans get new primary challengers now, after Senate Republicans spend next week bashing this deal?
ABC'S CHRIS GOOD: The State Dept. had set an aggressive, nine-month timeline for reaching a deal on Palestinian statehood, but a senior administration official traveling with John Kerry to the region acknowledged that a preliminary, framework agreement is more likely: "We don't expect that there would be a final status agreement, a treaty, by April 29th. So obviously, if we had a framework agreement at some point between now and then … we hope to get that done as soon as possible, you'd have to extend the deadline in order to allow for negotiation of the actual final status agreement."
ABC's RICK KLEIN: The last big vote of 2013 might be the most consequential in 2014. That holds true not just in Republican primaries - though the stark warning, from Sarah Palin on down, that "we'll be watching," suggests that it will matter there quite a bit. (Of the seven House Republicans seeking Senate seats next year, six voted "no" on the budget deal.) There's also importance in the precedence: This was the moment House Speaker John Boehner declared independence from the outside groups that have had outsized influence on the Hill. Of course, in most issue areas, House Republican leaders' interests align rather well with the groups that can claim some responsibility for delivering them to and keeping them in power. But now that it's been done once, Boehner will come under tremendous pressure to again represent the broader interests of the Republican Party, rather than the voices pushing the GOP consistently rightward. Immigration, anyone?
THIS WEEK ON 'THIS WEEK': As hotspots flare across the globe, from North Korea to Iran to Syria, ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz travels to Vietnam with Secretary of State John Kerry, only on "This Week" Sunday. And our powerhouse roundtable tackles the battle over the budget and all the week's politics, with ABC News' Cokie Roberts, University of California, Berkeley professor and former Clinton Labor secretary Robert Reich, former House speaker and CNN "Crossfire" co-host Newt Gingrich, and Republican strategist and CNN contributor Ana Navarro. Plus, New York Times investigative reporter Andrea Elliott discusses "Invisible Child," her compelling five-part portrait of Dasani, one of New York City's 22,000 homeless children. Be sure to use #ThisWeek when you tweet about the program. Tune in Sunday: http://abcnews.go.com/thisweek 'This Week' Quiz - Dan Pfeiffer: http://abcn.ws/18G8LEM
WHAT WE'RE WATCHING
HOW ANN ROMNEY COOKED AWAY THE POST ELECTION BLUES. the latest episode of "The Fine Print." When Mitt Romney lost the election to President Obama last year, Ann Romney turned to her love of cooking to help get her mind off politics. Now, one year later, the wife of the former Republican presidential candidate has published a cookbook, "The Romney Family Table," in which she shares some of her favorite family recipes and stories. And during an interview with "The Fine Print," with ABC's JEFF ZELENY, Romney demonstrated how to prepare some of her favorite Christmas cookies at D.C. hotspot, Fiola. "It's all about love," Romney said when asked why she wrote the book. "I mean cooking for me is about love and maybe it was a cathartic healing thing for me to do after a campaign, you know, because it's pretty bruising." http://yhoo.it/19GFQ0p
HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTERS PARTY LIKE IT'S 2016. In a downtown Washington bar and lounge Thursday night, the more than 450 Hillary Clinton supporters who gathered for the pro-Clinton super PAC Ready for Hillary D.C. kickoff event could hardly wait for 2016.The pro-Clinton super PAC, founded by longtime Clinton supporters, including Iowa and Virginia backers, has been ratcheting up its activities since coming into existence shortly after Clinton left her post as secretary of state in February. The process has involved bringing old Clinton supporters and fundraisers into the fold, as well as investing former Obama staff in the effort of building a Hillary Clinton grassroots base that can match or perhaps exceed the one President Obama's campaign put together in 2008 and 2012.The campaign itself is at least another year away from starting, but you almost wouldn't know it. http://abcn.ws/1dbh76O
CAN SNOW BRING PEACE? Secretary of State John Kerry is in the Middle East, trying to maintain Israeli/Palestinian peace talks during a rare snowstorm for the region, ABC'S CHRIS GOOD reports. In Ramallah yesterday, the heaviest snowfall in 50 years forced him to cut short a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, so Kerry could get back to Israeli territory (where he's staying) before the border closed. State Dept. spokesman Glen Johnson recounted some help from a Palestinian snow plow: "Kerry's Diplomatic Security team shuffled the staff into a caravan of four-wheel drive Chevy Suburbans, but in the blinding snow, their path home was cleared only by a Palestinian front-end loader. The driver held open his driver's-side door with his left hand, stuck his head out to see, and used his right hand to steer all the way from Ramallah to the Israeli border - pushing aside the snow as he went. Israeli police picked up the group on the other side and brought it home."
A REUNION LIKE NO OTHER. One soldier saved the life of another, keeping his comrade calm after he had been shot and paralyzed during a firefight. It came during some of the worst fighting American troops had seen in the Iraq war. Ten years had gone by since the two had seen each other. Tomas Young was just 24 years old when he was paralyzed from the chest down by a sniper's bullet in 2004, less than a week after he arrived in Iraq. Robert Miltenberger, the 38-year-old staff sergeant, kept Young alive, but also calm in battle by telling him a compassionate lie. Young was medevaced out of Iraq shortly after being wounded. Young and Miltenberger would not see each other again until ABC News recently brought them together, along with their wives, for a reunion in Portland, Ore. Read about their reunion http://abcn.ws/1b1PwSN and watch NIGHTLINE tonight to see the story from ABC's MARTHA RADDATZ.
UP ALL NIGHT. The Senate has worked continuously since 2:00 P.M. Wednesday, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ notes which adds up to over 42 straight hours. The all-night sessions kicked off Wednesday when Senate Republicans refused to yield back time on nominations in reaction to Senate Democrats' move last month to change filibuster rules using the so-called "nuclear option." Republicans did not back down Thursday, spending hours speaking about everything from their displeasure with the rules change to the failures of Obamacare. "What passed for gridlock before, this will pale in comparison to the poison that seeps from the hands of those who are careless and reckless with the law," Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said. "Where the filibuster once created conversation, the iron-fisted rule of the rule breakers will stifle it." But Senate Democrats saw the talk-a-thon as another example of obstruction that led to the rules change in the first place. "I think it speaks volumes as to what's been going on on the floor. It's the picture of why we had to change the rules around here," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a news conference Thursday. "We're wasting all this time post-cloture." http://abcn.ws/1bzrajj
REVOLT. Press Secretary Jay Carney got an earful Thursday from a frustrated White House press corps, as reporters revolted against what they described as limited access to President Obama, reports ABC's MARY BRUCE. "We are working and have been working on expanding access where we can," Carney explained. The uproar comes just days after the White House declined to let journalists photograph the president and first lady with former President George W. Bush, former first lady Laura Bush and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the long flight to South Africa. The White House later released several photos of the rare assembly aboard Air Force One taken by the official White House photographer. "For a lot of those hours, the president, former president, first lady and the former first lady were asleep, so we probably weren't going to bring in a still pool for that, or they were having dinner or something like that," Carney said. He also said the White House "went to great lengths to get as much access for all of our traveling press as we could; in fact, got exceptionally more access for our traveling press than we were told we would get." Reporters say the lack of access contradicts the president's commitment to transparency. "The tension between White Houses and White House press corps over access is long-standing," Carney said in response. "It is always going to be the case, as it has, you know, since there have been photographers in the White House, that White House photographers take pictures and White Houses release them. And you know, we're obviously going to continue to do that." http://abcn.ws/1e8GICn
LAUGHS FOR GROVER, NOT BIDEN. Vice President Joe Biden has been known to provide fodder for the late-night shows with a well-timed gaffe or two, but at an awards ceremony last night, it was a furry blue Muppet who was the comic relief , ABC's MATT LAROTONDA reports. When Grover, in a skit before the ceremony, spotted Biden with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in the audience, he couldn't help making a comment on the current state partisan politics. "Sitting together?" Grover said. "Awkward." But the night's star was Biden, who was honored by an array of dignitaries for his contributions to international diplomacy. http://abcn.ws/1kFAjw9
OBAMACARE UPDATE. In a nod to the challenges that many Americans are facing in the transition to new health plans under the Affordable Care Act, the White House Thursday announced some modest steps to provide relief for particularly at-risk consumers , ABC'S DEVIN DWYER reports. The more than 85,000 Americans who are currently enrolled in the federal Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) will now have until Jan. 15 to purchase a plan through the exchange, if they have not already done so. "We don't want these folks to experience a coverage gap," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on a conference call. There has been growing concern of late that many people with pre-existing conditions who have had difficulty signing up could see disruptions in their care come Jan. 1. Health and Human Services says the government will foot the bill for an additional month of PCIP coverage to ensure that those 85,000 with medical conditions will continue to get benefits through Jan. 31, 2014. (The $4.74 billion program is set to expire at the end of the year, but officials said there were enough remaining funds to cover the extension.) No immediate fix, however, for Americans outside that plan. http://abcn.ws/1j18DWZ
NOT SO FAST. The New York chattering class was buzzing on Wednesday after the New York Post reported that Republicans, fearful that Rep. Michael Grimm could lose in the 2014 elections, had encouraged former Rep. Vito Fossella to challenge him in the primary. Not so, says National Republican Congressional Committee chair Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore. "This is a complete fabrication and a ridiculous notion," Walden said in a statement. "Michael Grimm has not only proven he knows how to win this district, but he's also been an effective legislator for his constituents back home." Grimm is also a member of the NRCC's Patriot Program, in which incumbents receive additional funding and resources to help win their reelection bids. Fossella, who resigned from his Staten Island-based congressional seat in 2008 after admitting to having a second family resulting from an extramarital affair, told the paper, "There are significant people who have approached me to run…. They say I did a good job and should enter the public arena again … the number of inquiries have increased in the past few months," said Fossella…For his part, Grimm shot back in a statement provided to ABC News, saying, "As an independent voice for Staten Island and Brooklyn, my job is to fight for what's best for my district. Sometimes that requires actions that are not in lock-step with the party, but I didn't run for office to be liked; I ran to get results." "Baseless rumors will not keep me from focusing on my work in Congress and fighting for the people I proudly represent," he added. http://abcn.ws/1dasDiI
CHARGED. The former chief of staff to Sen. Lamar Alexander allegedly bought child pornography and tried to distribute it on an Internet site, according to a criminal complaint filed in the D.C. District Court today. Ryan Loskarn appeared in a federal court in Washington this afternoon to be formally charged, a day after he was arrested on the charges and promptly fired by Alexander, R-Tenn. ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ reports, the complaint alleges that between November 2010 and March 2011, Loskarn purchased child porn from a video company in Toronto, Canada, which mailed DVDs to his home. In October 2013, the U.S. Postal Inspector Service "identified Loskarn's residential IP address on the Gnutella peer-to-peer network offering files with names that are consistent with child pornography broadcasting as a download candidate," according to the complaint. http://abcn.ws/Jjy3j4
US AMBASSADOR TO FINLAND'S HILLARIOUS HOLIDAY CARD. U.S. Ambassador to Finland Bruce Oreck has really outdone himself this year with this hilarious holiday card. Last year, the statesman flexed his bulging left bicep in his annual, unofficial winter snap, but this year he decided to pose fully clothed alongside four shirtless men in a sauna. "Last year, the lighthearted version of my holiday card received some notoriety because I was photographed flexing the bicep of my naked arm," he wrote. "WELL, I certainly learned my lesson." ABC's ALYSSA NEWCOMB notes, the photograph of Oreck, who wore a long-sleeve shirt and tie, was apparently taken in a 230-degree room at the Finnish Sauna Society in Helsinki. http://abcn.ws/1byMS79
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
LIE OF THE YEAR, PER POLITIFACT. It was a catchy political pitch and a chance to calm nerves about his dramatic and complicated plan to bring historic change to America's health insurance system. "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it," President Barack Obama said - many times - of his landmark new law. But the promise was impossible to keep. So this fall, as cancellation letters were going out to approximately 4 million Americans, the public realized Obama's breezy assurances were wrong. Boiling down the complicated health care law to a soundbite proved treacherous, even for its promoter-in-chief. Obama and his team made matters worse, suggesting they had been misunderstood all along. The stunning political uproar led to this: a rare presidential apology. For all of these reasons, POLITIFACT has named "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it," the Lie of the Year for 2013. Readers in a separate online poll overwhelmingly agreed with the choice. For four of the past five years, PolitiFact's Lie of the Year has revolved around the health care law, which has been subject to more erroneous attacks than any other piece of legislation PolitiFact has fact-checked. http://bit.ly/1bIzuBy
SYRIAN REBEL LEADER'S FLIGHT A 'BIG PROBLEM' FOR US. Gen. Salim Idris' departure from Syria is "a big problem" but the United States continues to support him and the moderate opposition, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said today. Idris is the head of the Free Syrian Army who reportedly fled Syria to Qatar this weekend after Islamic fighters took control of his group's headquarters and warehouses in northern Syria stocked with U.S. aid. ABC's LUIS MARTINEZ writes, that seizure prompted an end of U.S non-lethal assistance to rebels in that part of Syria to prevent it from getting into the hands of extremist rebels. At a Pentagon news conference, Hagel said "we continue to support General Idris and the moderate opposition, and we are going to continue to help in the humanitarian area, which we have been doing consistently." http://abcn.ws/JjduTO
North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un Executed His 'Worse Than a Dog' Uncle The North Korean official publicly purged by Kim Jong-un was set up by his own wife and has since been executed, according to experts and the North Korean state news agency, ABC'S JOOHEE CHO reports. The state news agency KCNA called Jang Song-thaek, who had been Kim's uncle and top deputy, "despicable human scum" and "worse than a dog" in a release announcing his execution. The news agency said the country was outraged by the allegations that Jang betrayed the trust of Kim Jong-un and his later father Kim Jong-il, referred to as "peerlessly great men." "Against the backdrop of these shouts rocking the country, a special military tribunal… was held on December 12 against traitor for all ages Jang Song Thaek," KCNA reported in a story that was headlined "Traitor Jang Song Thaek Executed." Jang's execution was announced as fresh details emerged about Kim's surprising public purging of his uncle from a top position which indicate it was a family affair with his aunt and brother, armed with a pistol, taking part in the arrests of ranking officials. http://abcn.ws/1kDXKWH
WHAT WE'RE READING
Huckabee says he may make another run for GOP presidential nod by THE WASHINGTON POST'S KAREN TUMULTY Add another name to the list of potential GOP presidential contenders for 2016. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee - the winner of the 2008 Iowa caucuses, who took a pass on the 2012 presidential race - says he might be willing to give it another try. In an interview Thursday night, Huckabee said he is receiving encouragement to run "from places where I never got it before." That includes "business, people some would maybe call the establishment," he added. Both groups were adversaries in his 2008 bid, which caught fire in Iowa, but sputtered in later contests where he lacked money and organization…Although Huckabee enjoys strong support among conservative Christians, he sounded a much broader message. What is driving him, he said, is "a sense in which I really believe the key to a Republican victory is an ability to communicate a message that speaks across a broader spectrum. One of our failures is the ability to speak to African-Americans, to speak to Hispanics, to speak to working class people - more than just speaking to the board room, speaking to the people who go in and clean up after the meeting." http://wapo.st/18IzCjx
Chris Van Hollen Hopes Budget Deal Boosts Immigration Reform by The HUFFINGTON POST'S JON WARD. Chris Van Hollen paused several beats, and took a deep breath. "I have to say, unfortunately, there are not many highlights" from the last year, he said Thursday. The Maryland congressman, one of the top Democratic leaders in the House, was stumped. "In fact, let me think about a highlight. Hmmmm. What would be a highlight of the last year?" Finally, seated in his Capitol Hill office, Van Hollen settled on an answer. "Look, at the beginning of the year we avoided what was called the fiscal cliff. You know, the agreement I think it was satisfactory. We might have been able to do better," he said. And that about sums it up. The only semi-positive thing Van Hollen could name was passed on the first day of the year after an ugly and contentious process. Van Hollen, in his 10th year as a congressman and a leading candidate to be speaker of the House someday, did not mince words about why 2013 has been a downer. "What would be the low point? Well it wasn't a congressional action. It was the very rocky rollout of the Web-based exchanges in the ACA," he said, referring to the Affordable Care Act. http://huff.to/1dbizpM
IN THE NOTE'S INBOX:
DNC Video: Chris Christie's Bridge Scandal Explained Watch the Video Here
@betsy_klein : Christmas came early: Beyonce Surprises Fans With New Album on iTunes http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2013/12/beyonce-surprises-fans-with-new-album-on-itunes/#.UqsGV6nV-Nw.twitter … via @abc
@AlecMacGillis : Naming names, one year after #Newtown and eight months after The Vote: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115913/newtown-anniversary-six-politicians-who-opposed-gun-control …