(CNN) – While President Barack Obama said Wednesday he hopes to reach a deficit-reduction deal by Christmas, Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas didn't sound too confident that such an agreement will be made by year's end, meaning many tax increases and spending cuts would automatically kick in at the start of 2013.
"I'm increasingly pessimistic, not optimistic, because the president seems to be campaigning rather than going anywhere and doing anything to get a deal," Cornyn said on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront." "If we don't get a deal, it will hurt a lot of people."
(CNN) – Republican Rep. Tom Cole, who drew sharp disagreement from House Speaker John Boehner when he broke from party lines in the fiscal cliff negotiations, further stood by his position Wednesday night but added he would support the GOP no matter what decision was reached.
"I'm one voice. I'm not king of the universe, and I support my speaker," Cole, from Oklahoma, said on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360." "I recognize he's the speaker. I support my conference."
(CNN) – Some Republican senators have openly stated they would work to block a nomination of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to the position of secretary of state. But what happens if President Barack Obama decides to nominate her, anyway? CNN National Political Correspondent John King explains.
Washington (CNN) – First lady Michelle Obama welcomed the holiday season at the White House Wednesday with a viewing of decorations throughout the house.
She celebrated her fourth Christmas in Washington with military families, including Gold Star and Blue Star parents, spouses and children.
(CNN) – Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said Wednesday he'd be open to moving the top marginal tax rate for families making above $250,000 a year from 35% to the Clinton-era level of 39.6% if it was an essential step to avoid the fiscal cliff.
"I think if that's what it took to make the math work, when you looked at the entitlement side and when you looked at the revenue side, I wouldn't preclude that," Blankfein said on CNN's "The Situation Room." "I think it's better to have as low a marginal rate as possible ... but if we had to lift up the marginal rate, I would do that."
(CNN) - Former GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman has some tough words for his party as they approach negotiations with the White House to avert the "fiscal cliff."
"In my party, compromise cannot be seen as analogous to treason, which it has been recently," Huntsman said in a recent interview with The Huffington Post published Wednesday.
(CNN) - Democrats pounced Wednesday on news from earlier this week about a Department of Justice investigation involving Republican Rep. Michael Grimm of Staten Island and possible campaign finance violations.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the group tasked with helping Democrats get elected to the House, described the allegations against Grimm, a former undercover FBI agent, as "the latest blow" to House Republicans.
(CNN) – The White House looked to harness the power of social media – again – to boost its public relations push on the fiscal cliff by launching the #My2K hashtag Wednesday.
The effort to popularize the Twitter subject hashtag coincided with President Barack Obama's meeting Wednesday with 85 Americans who answered a White House email sent out last week asking why extending middle class tax cuts was important for Americans.
CNN's GUT CHECK | for November 28, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
DEVELOPING: SENIOR GOP CONGRESSMAN’S TAX PROPOSAL GETS SHOT DOWN… House Speaker John Boehner and other conservatives shot down a proposal from a senior congressional Republican who suggested that his GOP colleagues break from their firm anti-tax position and agree to a demand from Democrats to immediately renew middle class tax cuts. Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a member of the leadership team that helps round up House votes, told fellow GOP lawmakers that he thought they should, as a matter of political strategy, extend just the tax-rate cuts for those making $250,000 or less before the end of the year - a position being pushed by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats. – Deirdre Walsh
– The fight plays out in front of cameras… –
REPUBLICAN REP. TOM COLE OF OKLAHOMA OUTSIDE THE WEEKLY REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE MEETING: “In my view, we all agree that we're not going to raise taxes on people who make less than $250,000. We should just take them out of this discussion right now, continue to fight against any rate increases, continue to work honestly for a much bigger deal. We need to deal with entitlement spending. We need to deal with job creation. Rates are intimately tied to that. So let's have that discussion, but I think it's easier to have without a lot of people whose taxes we don't intend to raise being worried they might get raised.”
REPUBLICAN REP. RAUL LABRADOR OUTSIDE THE WEEKLY REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE MEETING: “I think he (Rep. Cole) is wrong and I think most of the conference thinks that he's wrong. I think he's, you know, he's a good man who's served here for a long time. But he's also a man who has voted for a lot of the increased spending in Washington, D.C., and that's the problem. We have a lot of Republicans who are, you know, catching their hair on fire right now, but they're the ones who were here for 10 or 20 years causing all the problems that we're now facing.”
– … but the GOP leader remains optimistic –
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER AT A CAPITOL HILL PRESS CONFERENCE: “Republicans are committed to continuing to work with the president to come to an agreement to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. It's one reason why we believe that we put revenue on the table as long as it's accompanied by serious spending cuts to avert this crisis. … I'm optimistic that we can continue to work together to avert this crisis sooner rather than later.”