Bernie Sanders Campaigns in Iowa

The New York Times follows Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in Iowa: “At 73 and famously gruff, he may be on one of the most quixotic adventures in American politics: In a country that just put Republicans in charge of Congress, he is testing whether Democrats will embrace a socialist for the White House in 2016. He is certainly the only potential candidate to carry a brass key chain from a campaign of Eugene V. Debs, a five-time Socialist Party nominee for president.”

“He has virtually no chance of winning the nomination, but he does have a chance to shape the debate — presuming he actually runs. With his fiery populist attacks on Wall Street and ‘the billionaire class,’ he could become either a nettlesome thorn to Hillary Rodham Clinton or a convenient foil for her, if she runs.”

Obama Says America is Resurgent

President Obama “defended his economic, health care and foreign policies on Friday, declaring in a year-end news conference that he has brought about a new American resurgence and is energized about his final two years in office,” the New York Times reports.

Said Obama: “We are better positioned than we have been in a very long time.”

“The news conference ends a six-week period when Mr. Obama aggressively used his presidential powers to take sweeping unilateral action on immigration, re-establish diplomatic and commercial ties with Cuba, strike a climate agreement with China and press for strong rules on keeping the Internet free and open. Mr. Obama suggested he has no intention of backing down on that approach.”

Do the Polls Vindicate Romney?

Byron York: “People in Romney’s circle realize that some of his standing in the polls reflects nothing more than name recognition; everybody knows the guy who ran for president in 2012. But they believe there’s more to it than that. In discussions this week, they pointed to what they think is a widespread belief among voters, certainly among Republicans, that Romney was right about some key issues in the 2012 campaign.”

Lawmaker by Day, Jail by Night?

Virginia state Del. Joseph Morrissey (D) “will resign his seat in the General Assembly in the wake of his conviction on a misdemeanor charge involving his relations with a 17-year-old girl. But he plans to run in a special election for his own seat,” the Washington Post reports.

“He was given six months of active jail time, with a work release arrangement that allows him to spend 12 hours a day, seven days a week either at his law firm or his legislative office. He will thus be running his special election campaign while incarcerated, and should he win, he would be serving in the legislature by day and returning to jail at night.”

Foster Eyes Senate Bid in Illinois

Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) “has been feeling out major Illinois Democratic donors about a 2016 run against Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL),” the Chicago Sun Times reports.

“Foster, who represents the west suburban 11th Congressional District, is putting himself in play as Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) — who could have the nomination for the asking — also considers a run. The two centrist Democrats would share much of the same high-end Illinois Democratic donor base.”

Obama Urges More Athletes to Speak Out

President Obama didn’t hesitate in an interview with People to endorse LeBron James’s decision to wear an ‘I Can’t Breathe’ T-shirt.

Said Obama: “I think LeBron did the right thing… We forget the role that Muhammad Ali, Arthur Ashe and Bill Russell played in raising consciousness. We went through a long stretch there where [with] well-paid athletes the notion was: just be quiet and get your endorsements and don’t make waves… LeBron is an example of a young man who has, in his own way and in a respectful way, tried to say, ‘I’m part of this society, too.’ I’d like to see more athletes do that. Not just around this issue, but around a range of issues.”

Lawmaker Would Require Men to Approve Abortions

Missouri State Rep. Rick Brattin (R) introduced a bill which would “require a woman seeking an abortion to obtain notarized consent from the baby’s father, even if he is physically abusive toward her,” the Huffington Post reports.

Brattin said his bill would require a woman to be able to prove that a “legitimate rape” happened in order to avoid having to ask for a man’s consent for the abortion.

Said Brattin: “Just like any rape, you have to report it, and you have to prove it. So you couldn’t just go and say, ‘Oh yeah, I was raped,’ and get an abortion. It has to be a legitimate rape.”

Kenyan Lawmakers Brawl Over Terror Law

“Kenyan lawmakers on Thursday voted through a tough anti-terror bill amid chaotic scenes in parliament and a brawl between opposition and government MPs,” AFP reports.

“Divisions over the legislation triggered heated exchanges between lawmakers that culminated in a brawl, forcing the vote to be repeatedly delayed on Thursday. It was finally approved to loud boos from opposition MPs, who bombarded Speaker of Parliament Justin Muturi with books and documents.”

Carly Fiorina Hiring for a Presidential Campaign

“Carly Fiorina is laying the groundwork for what one ally says is an ‘imminent’ presidential campaign—one that could launch as early as next month,” National Journal reports.

“According to three sources with direct knowledge of the situation, she has authorized members of her inner circle to seek out and interview candidates for two key positions on her presidential campaign: political director and communications director. Notably, the sources said, her associates are aiming to fill both positions with women. The search, sources say, is being spearheaded by Amy Noone Frederick, a Republican consultant who sits with Fiorina on the American Conservative Union Foundation’s board of directors.”