Washington (CNN) - After cameras left the photo-op of President Barack Obama and congressional leaders at the White House on Friday, the actual meeting got under way with the president explaining how he would like to resolve the fiscal cliff and tackle deficit reduction. House Speaker John Boehner went next and so on, until Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi all spoke, a source familiar with the discussion said.
But after that, according to the source, the perfunctory stating of now well-known positions gave way to a free-flowing discussion about how to deal with the fiscal cliff.
(CNN) – Kicking off a meeting with congressional leaders Friday, President Barack Obama joked with House Speaker John Boehner about his birthday.
After a statement welcoming House and Senate party leaders to the White House, Obama said, "Excuse me, there is one other point I want to make."
CNN's GUT CHECK | for November 16, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: ROMNEY CAMPAIGN ADVISER IN CHARGE OF HISPANIC OUTREACH “SHOCKED” BY ROMNEY’S COMMENTS… CARLOS GUTIERREZ TO CNN’s CANDY CROWLEY: “I was shocked. I was shocked and, frankly, I don't think that's why the Republicans lost the election, why we lost the election. I think we lost the election because the far right of this party has taken the party to a place that it doesn't belong. We are the party of prosperity, of growth, of tolerance. I mean, these immigrants who come across and what they do wrong is they risk their lives, they come here and they work because they want to be part of the American dream. That is what the GOP is.” VIDEO
GUTIERREZ ALSO ANNOUNCES GOP PRO-IMMIGRATION SUPER PAC WITH CHARLIE SPIES: “We are creating a Super PAC - I say "we", all Republicans who believe in immigration reform and immigration - with Charlie Spies, who created the largest Super PAC for Mitt Romney. So we're talking about something real and something that can have real influence on outcomes of elections.”
Gut Check DVR: Carlos Gutierrez will be on CNN’s “State of the Union with Candy Crowley” this Sunday at 9 a.m. ET.
DEVELOPING: ROCKETS STRIKE NEAR ISRAELI CITIES… Rockets landed near Israel's two most populous cities Friday as fighting between Israel and Hamas militants persisted with no immediate end in sight. Two rockets hit in an open area south of the city of Jerusalem, and no damage was reported. Hamas militants confirmed that they had fired rockets toward the city, which Israel considers its capital but is not recognized as such by the international community.
(CNN) – After Mitt Romney and fellow Republicans failed to garner the support of the nation's fastest growing minority group in November's election, Carlos Gutierrez, the man who led Romney's outreach to Hispanic voters, said he and Republicans advocating for immigration reform are creating a super PAC in hopes of repairing the party's image among the pivotal voting block.
In an interview set to air in full Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley, Gutierrez also sharply criticized Romney's remarks made on a call Wednesday with donors following his loss in last week's election. Romney explained his loss in part by pointing to "gifts" President Barack Obama gave to certain groups that turned out in high numbers.
Washington (CNN) – Despite a rough election for the GOP, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is seeking re-election and Friday reached out to state Republican officials across the country asking for their support, sources familiar with the conversations told CNN.
Several officials familiar with the process said they think as of now Priebus has enough support to win.
(CNN) – An anti-abortion Republican congressman from Tennessee, first elected in 2010 with support from tea party activists, testified at divorce proceedings in 2001 that he and his wife mutually agreed on her getting two abortions, according to court transcripts released to CNN Friday.
Rep. Scott DesJarlais, who won re-election last Tuesday by more than ten points, also admitted in the court documents to having sex with some of his patients and colleagues when he was a practicing physician, and to prescribing one of those patients painkiller medications.
(CNN) – A Florida judge on Friday denied Rep. Allen West's request for a recount of all early ballots in his race for re-election because his appeal did not meet the requirements for a temporary injunction, CNN affiliate WPBF reported.
West's campaign had filed a complaint Tuesday in St. Lucie County, calling for the court to order a recount of all of the early ballots cast in Florida's 18th Congressional District.
(CNN) - Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray conceded Friday to Democrat Scott Peters in California's 52nd congressional district, giving Democrats a net gain of five seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In a statement conceding the race, Bilbray congratulated his opponent and thanked his supporters.
(CNN) – President Barack Obama and congressional leaders wrapped up their first "fiscal cliff" meeting since the election with a confident tone that had both sides suggesting an agreement could be reached before January 1, when hefty federal spending cuts and tax raises are scheduled to take effect.
"My hope is that this will be the beginning of a fruitful process," said Obama, just prior to the meeting meant to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, which some economists warn could push the country into recession.