Post-Thanksgiving Fiscal Cliffhangers

PHOTO: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, second from left, accompanied by, from left, House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, speaks to reporters outside the White House in Washington, N

By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone) and AMY WALTER (@amyewalter)

NOTABLES:

  • REPORTERS, COMEDIANS SHOULD GIVE THANKS FOR 2012: In the latest installment of "Top Line," ABC's Amy Walter reviews all that political reporters and late-night comments should be thankful for about 2012: From Mitt Romney's surreptitiously recorded 47-percent comments to Todd Akin's magic uterus, campaign season brought a cornucopia of gifts for all. WATCH: http://yhoo.it/SdZo5k
  • 2016 LIKE IT'S TODAY: WILL RAND RUN? In the latest installment of "Spinners and Winners," ABC's Jonathan Karl interviews Sen. Rand Paul, who says the GOP's path to competitiveness could wind through decriminalized marijuana and immigration reform. And he won't rule out a 2016 presidential run: "I'm not going to deny that I'm interested," Paul tells Karl. WATCH: http://yhoo.it/Se1D8S
  • POLL: PETRAEUS'S IMAGE TAKES A HIT, SPLIT VIEWS ON FBI APPROACH: ABC's Greg Holyk reports on the latest ABC/Washington Post poll: David Petraeus' popularity has dropped since the scandal that's forced him from directorship of the CIA, but still more Americans see him favorably than unfavorably--a better rating than the FBI's for its handling of the investigation that unearthed his marital infidelity. Forty-five percent in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll see Petraeus favorably overall, down 10 points from March 2011 and 16 points from his peak in September 2007, both in Gallup surveys. Thirty-two percent see him unfavorably, a new high. Yet uncovering Petraeus' behavior--in an investigation that's prompted discussions about privacy in the digital age - hasn't won fans for the FBI. Americans divide evenly, 40-39 percent, on the agency's handling of the matter. http://abcn.ws/SdYNAx
  • HAPPY THANKSGIVING: The Note will be taking a brief Thanksgiving hiatus on Thursday and Friday. We wish you a happy holiday and will see you on Monday Nov. 27.
THE NOTE:

Make no mistake: This sleepy, turkey and stuffing-fueled week will give way to a frenetic pace during the month of December.

The big question: Will the post-election bi-partisan glow fade once the negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff go from theoretical to the real deal?

The quartet of Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi sounded notes of optimism last week after their meeting with President Obama at the White House, but there are also signs of bumps in the road.

As Politico's Jake Sherman, John Bresnahan and Carrie Budoff Brown reported last night: "The opening round of negotiations this week between White House and senior GOP congressional staffers left both sides pessimistic about their ability to reach a quick deal on averting the fiscal cliff, according to sources familiar with the talks. Hill Democrats say Republicans aren't serious about crafting a deal that President Barack Obama can accept. The GOP's opening offer, the sources said, would freeze the Bush-era tax rates, change the inflation calculator for entitlement programs, keep the estate tax at 2012 levels and authorize a major overhaul of the tax code -- although they did not provide a revenue target." http://bit.ly/TP0bY2

We're likely to see another meeting between the Congressional leaders and the president at the White House before long, and here are The Note's five things to watch for when lawmakers return to Washington after Thanksgiving:

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