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CNN: Daley moving quickly to take power at White House
New White House Chief of Staff William Daley will be on the job before the State of the Union, according to senior administration officials, and there are early signs he also will be bringing in some of his own senior aides. The decision is leaving some current White House staffers feeling uneasy about where they will fit in the flow chart. Several Democratic sources said Daley is planning to bring along to the White House at least some close allies, people who date back to his time as commerce secretary during the Clinton administration as well as other stops in his impressive resume.
CNN: Daley to help Obama move to the center?
William Daley, a member of an influential political family, has been a fixture in Washington politics and in the business community. And that experience that will serve him well now that he has been named President Obama's chief of staff, political observers say. "President Obama has made a brilliant choice in naming William Daley ... and his selection sends a clear signal that he intends to govern and campaign from the center over the next two years," said Jonathan Cowen, president of the self-described moderate organization Third Way.
Roll Call: McConnell Supports Obama’s Chief of Staff Choice
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell praised President Barack Obama on Thursday for choosing business executive William Daley to serve as White House chief of staff. The Kentucky Republican noted that he has long been critical of the president’s senior staff but that he feels differently about Daley. “I frankly think it’s kind of a hopeful sign,” said McConnell, who successfully negotiated a compromise with Obama in December to extend tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003. “He has a business background. As I used to say over the last two years: I don’t know if it’s technically true or not, but there’s nobody down at the White House who’s ever even run a lemonade stand, just college professors and former elected officials. This is a guy who’s actually been out in the private sector, been a part of business. Frankly, my first reaction is, it sounds like a good idea.”.
CNNMoney: Health care repeal's cost: $230 billion to deficit
It's one of the promises on which House Republicans campaigned: If elected, we will repeal health care reform. One problem: Rolling back the law would probably increase federal budget deficits by a total of about $230 billion by 2021, according to a preliminary estimate released Thursday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The long-run outlook isn't any better. The CBO warns that long-term projections are highly uncertain, but said a repeal would increase federal deficits in the decade after 2019 by around 0.5% of GDP.
CNN: Two House Republicans miss swearing in but still vote
They voted, and they participated in the Republican-mandated reading of the Constitution on the House floor. But two Republicans missed their official swearing in on the House floor on Wednesday and weren't officially members of Congress as the chamber began its first full day of official business on Thursday. The new Republican House majority was a little red-faced to learn that Reps. Pete Sessions of Texas and Mike Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania were attending a reception for Fitzpatrick's constituents in a room on the Capitol campus – and took the oath of office while watching the floor proceedings on television.
New York Times: Obama Plan Aims to Ease Mexican Trucking Ban
The Obama administration offered a proposal on Thursday to allow long-haul Mexican trucks to move cargo in the United States. The proposal, which the Mexican government greeted as a positive step, was the latest sign of a new willingness by the Obama administration to support free-trade measures backed by Republicans and by businesses despite objections from labor unions and other liberal constituencies. The United States has effectively barred Mexican trucks from operating on American roads since March 2009. Mexico said the ban violated the North American Free Trade Agreement, which took effect in 1994, and retaliated by imposing $2.4 billion in punitive tariffs on a wide range of American agricultural and other products imported to Mexico.
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CNN: Defense secretary announces billions in budget cuts
Defense Secretary Robert Gates staged a pre-emptive attack Thursday in Washington's looming budget battles, announcing cuts of $78 billion to the U.S. military and defense department, including reducing the size of the Army and Marine Corps. In addition, Gates said the Army, Navy and Air Force had found $100 billion of savings that they would retain, allowing them to continue developing major weapons and modernizing their forces over the next five years. "These reform efforts, followed through to completion, will make it possible to protect the U.S. military's size, reach and fighting strength despite a declining rate of growth and eventual flattening of the defense budget over the next five years," Gates said at the start of a lengthy opening statement at the Pentagon.
USA Today: U.S. population growth slowed, still envied
Despite the slowest decade of population growth since the Great Depression, the USA remains the world's fastest-growing industrialized nation and the globe's third-most populous country at a time when some are actually shrinking. The United States reached 308.7 million in 2010, up 9.7% since 2000 — a slight slowdown that many experts says was caused by the recession and less immigration. Even so, U.S. growth is the envy of most developed nations. Trailing only China and India, the nation is expected to grow at least through the next generation because it is one of the few industrialized countries that has a fertility rate close to replacement level. The rate of births needed for a generation to replace itself is an average 2.1 per woman. The USA's is at 2.06.
CNN: Official: Protest message sent with Maryland incendiary device
A message found in at least one of two incendiary devices that were mailed to two Maryland state offices complained about homeland security road signs in the state, according to a government official with access to information on the investigation. Two Maryland employees suffered slightly burned fingers when they opened packages containing devices that set off a flash of fire, smoke and a sulfur smell, authorities said. The government official said an ABC News report on the note seemed accurate. According to ABC, the note read, "Report suspicious activity. Total Bulls..t. You have created a self-fulfilling prophecy."
CNN: Northeast braces for another snowy weekend
New York crews will get another chance to prove themselves as a new snowstorm heads for the Big Apple less than two weeks after a blizzard paralyzed the city. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut for Friday. Forecasters project between 2 and 4 inches of snow, with heavier amounts of snow expected over eastern sections of Long Island.
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CNN: Sources: Security threat level for London raised to 'severe'
New information has emerged from an intelligence operation about the possibility of an attack being planned in or near London, with subway stations and airports of particular concern to officials, a British security source told CNN Thursday. CNN understands that the intelligence operation concerns a possible Mumbai-style attack, the source said.
CNN: 8 killed, 3 injured in Honduras bus attack
Eight people were killed and three others were injured after a group of gunmen opened fire on a private bus in Honduras, officials said. The small bus was carrying a family when gunmen ambushed it Thursday night, fireman Angel Urbina said. Photos that firefighters took after the attack showed a woman slumped over, her head on a seat covered with blood stains and shattered glass. Outside the bus, rescuers surrounded a child covered with blood. Body bags sat on the roadside while investigators examined the scene. …Police were investigating whether the attack was connected with drug trafficking, and whether it was connected with another attack nearby where three people were shot, Sauceda said.
Washington Post: U.S. Cautions People Named in Cable Leaks
The State Department is warning hundreds of human rights activists, foreign government officials and businesspeople identified in leaked diplomatic cables of potential threats to their safety and has moved a handful of them to safer locations, administration officials said Thursday. The operation, which involves a team of 30 in Washington and embassies from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, reflects the administration’s fear that the disclosure of cables obtained by the organization WikiLeaks has damaged American interests by exposing foreigners who supply valuable information to the United States.
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Bloomberg: Ford 2010 China Vehicle Sales Rise 40% on Demand For Focus, Fiesta Models
Ford Motor Co. said its vehicle sales in China rose 40 percent last year as customers bought more Focus compact cars and Fiesta subcompacts in the world’s largest auto market. Deliveries rose to 582,467 vehicles, the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker said today in an e-mailed statement. Sales in December rose 52 percent from a year earlier to 56,880. Ford’s full-year sales in China climbed to a record as rising disposable incomes and economic growth spurred auto demand. The company forecasts 70 percent of its growth in the next 10 years will come from the Asia-Pacific region and Africa.
In Case You Missed It
The 112th House of Representatives reads the U.S. Constitution, a symbolic nod to the conservative Tea Party freshmen.
Dem. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi talks to CNN's John King in an exclusive TV interview.
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