(CNN)–It's early, and State of the Union is bringing you the best of the morning headlines to go with your coffee.
On our radar: Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) takes the helm of a powerful House investigative committee, rumors of a primary challenger for President Obama, and the chance of bipartisanship in the 112th Congress.
Check out what we're reading, and make sure the watch the show at 9am/12pm ET with guest host Ed Henry.
REP. DARRELL ISSA
Obama's chief antagonist may be Rep. Darrell Issa (R- Vista), who will chair the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Issa has promised not to use the position to mount grandstanding investigations into political arcana, such as subpoenaing the president's birth certificate, but will instead use his committee to try to uncover fraud and waste within the federal government.
But Issa made it clear that Obama's legislative accomplishments are a ripe target.
"After a trillion-dollar stimulus that didn't create jobs, a trillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street and a trillion-dollar healthcare overhaul, the American people believe we need more oversight, not less," he said in an interview. "But that oversight must lead to reform so that we produce a federal government that serves the people better and without excess spending.... We need to be better stewards of the people's money."
“There haven’t been many pictures, and there haven’t been many stories,” said Julian Zelizer, a historian at Princeton. “Part of it is that the allure is gone. The president and his family on vacation are less interesting; the Camelot glow is gone, so people just don’t care as much.
“And I think the White House is extraordinarily cautious about getting the right pictures out there, not sending the wrong message, because going off to Hawaii two years into a recession when a lot of people are unemployed does not come off well,” he said. “You don’t want the president bodysurfing when the public doesn’t have a job.”
“You know, I’m really focused on what we’re doing in our current position,” Huntsman says. “But we won’t do this forever, and I think we may have one final run left in our bones.” Asked whether he is prepared to rule out a run in 2012 (since it would require him to campaign against his current boss), he declines to comment.
Employment probably rose for a third month in December, bringing U.S. payroll growth last year to about 1 million and pointing to further improvement in the labor market in 2011, economists said before a report this week.
President Obama’s recent tax-cut deal with the Republicans included measures to support growth, notably extended unemployment benefits, and the payroll tax cut. Deep state budget cuts could offset much of that, unless Congress funnels more aid to states.
"I think we can get 40 or 50 moderate, and a few conservative Democrats that are left to vote with us so that we send these bills to the Senate with a bipartisan majority, in some cases approaching 290 to 295 votes," he said. "I'm hopeful that the president will listen and the Democrats that are left standing will listen and they will work with us."
“Do I think that they’ve recognized what happened on Election Day? I would say decisively no,” said Mark Meckler, a co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, which sent its members an alert last month urging them to call their representatives to urge them to “stop now and go home!!”
“We sent them a message that we expect them to go home and come back newly constituted and do something different,” Mr. Meckler said. “For them to legislate when they’ve collectively lost their mandate just shows the arrogance of the ruling elite. I can’t imagine being repudiated in the way they were and then coming back and saying ‘Now that we’ve been repudiated, let’s go pass some legislation.’ ” “I’m surprised by how blatant it was,” he added.
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