“In the latest installment of his magisterial, multivolume biography, Mr. Caro uses his wondrous narrative gifts to tell the dramatic story of how Johnson was catapulted to the White House in the wake of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and how he used his potent political skills to push his predecessor’s civil rights legislation through Congress and lay the groundwork for his own revolutionary war on poverty.”
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has chosen Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) to replace Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) in the United States Senate, the New York Times reports.
“The move will make Mr. Scott the first black senator from the South since the late 19th century.”
Washington Post: “His selection is little surprise, as his name quickly rose to the top of most people’s lists mere hours after DeMint announced he was going to resign. There are plenty of ambitious Republican politicians in South Carolina, but Scott made sense for the appointment for a whole host of reasons, including his close relationships with Haley and DeMint and his ties to both the conservative base and the party establishment.”
Joe Scarborough, a conservative Republican who received the NRA’s highest ratings over four terms in Congress, has changed his mind on gun control.
“It’s time for Washington to stop trying to win endless wars overseas while we’re losing the war at home… We must give no more ground… I choose life, and I choose change. And for the sake of our children, we must do what’s right. And for the sake of this great nation that we love, let’s pray to God that we do.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), a conservative Democrat and National Rifle Association member, said that after the school shooting in Connecticut, it’s time to discuss new regulations on assault weapons, the Washington Post reports.
Said Manchin: “I dont know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle. I don’t know anyone that needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting. I mean, these are things that need to be talked about.”
CNN: “There are an estimated 270 million guns in the hands of civilians in the United States, making Americans the most heavily armed people in the world per capita. Yemen, a tribal nation with no history of strong central government or the rule of law, comes in a distant second.”
A must-read out today for the Kindle: The End of the Line: The 34 days That Decided the Election by Glenn Thrush and Jonathan Martin.
A couple highlights:
“Romney instituted a point system that assigned a specific numerical value to each event — rallies, speeches, fundraisers and so on. The more labor-intensive the event, the more points it was assigned. Romney’s instructions to his assistant were that he was not to exceed 900 points on a given day, the better to manage his time.”
“Obama’s unshakeable confidence was deeply shaken by his own failure in Denver — far more than anyone on the outside could have known at the time. Obama and his top advisers quietly waged a campaign-within-a-campaign to buck up their bummed-out candidate and, even more quietly, to purge distractions and negativity from his midst.”
“Republicans alarmed at the apparent challenges they face in winning the White House are preparing an all-out assault on the Electoral College system in critical states, an initiative that would significantly ease the party’s path to the Oval Office,” National Journal reports.
“Senior Republicans say they will try to leverage their party’s majorities in Democratic-leaning states in an effort to end the winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes. Instead, bills that will be introduced in several Democratic states would award electoral votes on a proportional basis.”
“Already, two states — Maine and Nebraska — award an electoral vote to the winner of each congressional district… But if more reliably blue states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were to award their electoral votes proportionally, Republicans would be able to eat into what has become a deep Democratic advantage.”
Unlike his past remarks after other tragic shootings, President Obama last night made an explicit call to action to stem gun violence. His speech could end up being the most memorable of his presidency.
The Wall Street Journal notes the White House “is looking at various options, and the scope and
details of the president’s approach aren’t clear. One possibility likely
to be considered is a ban on high-capacity magazines, the devices
attached to firearms that store large numbers of bullets and reload them
First Read: “To pull this off in the gun area, the president is going to have to tackle every issue associated with these heinous crimes: gun laws, our gun culture, mental health, the de-sensitization of violence thanks to Hollywood and video game makers, and of course parental responsibility. If it’s a LARGER policy discussion, it’s much harder for the most ardent NRA-supporting lawmaker to walk away.”
President Obama is likely to pick Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) as the next secretary of state but the New York Times reports that the announcement will be delayed, at least until later this week and maybe beyond, because of the Connecticut school shooting and what one official called ‘some discomfort’ with the idea of Mr. Obama’s announcing a national security team in which the top posts are almost exclusively held by white men.”
The Boston Globe adds that the possibility of picking Kerry for state and former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) for defense “could also create pressure on the White House to add gender or racial diversity to the team with its selection of a permanent replacement for David Petraeus as CIA director.”
Among the possible candidates in that case would be Michele Flournoy or former Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA).
Retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) told WFSB-TV that it is time for sweeping changes in the way the United States chooses its leaders and said he supports the elimination of the electoral college and supports term limits for his colleagues in the Senate.
Said Lieberman: “My position on this has changed. Some say there are term limits for senators every six years and it is up to voters to decide. When I started here (24 years ago) I was 99th in seniority, and now I am 20th, so it does change, but needs to change more often… I think it would make the senate less partisan and healthier if it turned over more often.”
He also said he was surprised there wasn’t a movement after the 2000 election to eliminate the electoral college.
Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) told the AP that he’s considering joining the Democratic Party to help his chances of winning a second term.
Chafee said that “he shares many views with Democrats and that joining a major party might make it easier to raise money for the 2014 campaign. He said there’s no timetable for his decision but he is actively raising money to run for re-election, which he said is a ‘good indication’ of his plans.”
Michael Dukakis (D) “may be headed back to the political spotlight as he’s considered a likely interim replacement for Sen. John Kerry (D-MA),” The Hill reports.
If Kerry is named Secretary of State as expected, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) “needs to find someone to fill Kerry’s seat until a special election can be held in the late spring or early summer… The Democratic primary for Kerry’s seat will be intense and Patrick is expected to tap someone as an interim replacement who would promise not to run in the special election.”
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), “who just lost an expensive, hard-fought re-election campaign, may soon get a shot at redemption.”
House Speaker John Boehner “has offered to push any fight over the federal debt limit off for a year, a concession that would deprive Republicans of leverage in the budget battle but is breathing new life into stalled talks over the year-end fiscal cliff,” the Washington Post reports.
“Boehner’s offer signals that he expects a big deal with sufficient savings to meet his demand that any debt limit increase be paired dollar-for-dollar with spending cuts. That would permit him to keep a key vow to his party — and head off a potentially nasty debt-limit fight — at least until the end of next year.”
Joseph Califano: “If ever there were a moment for President Obama to learn from history, it is now, in the wake of Friday’s shootings at the elementary school at Newtown, Conn. The timely lesson for Obama, drawn from the experience of Lyndon B. Johnson — the last president to aggressively fight for comprehensive gun control — is this: Demand action on comprehensive gun control immediately from this Congress or lose the opportunity during your presidency.”
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, 76 years old and still married to his second wife, announced he was engaged to Francesca Pascale, his 27-year old girlfriend, the Telegraph reports.
Said Berlusconi: “Finally I feel less lonely.”
Berlusconi plans to launch his fourth bid to be prime minister in elections expected to be held in February next year unless current Prime Minister Mario Monti decides to run.
A new ClearView Research poll in Florida finds former Gov. Charlie Crist (D) is the clear favorite for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2014 over Alex Sink (D), 55% to 34%.
“I wish to God the principal had had an M4 in her office, locked up, so when she heard gunfire she pulls it out … and takes him out, takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids.”
— Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), quoted by CNN, arguing the deadly Connecticut school shooting could have been halted sooner if staff at the school had been equipped with guns.