(CNN) – Senators Joe Lieberman, John McCain and Lindsey Graham discussed the definition of marriage Tuesday in an interview on "Piers Morgan Tonight," insisting the decision to allow same-sex couples to legally wed should be left up to the states.
"In my state, we're not going to change the traditional definition of marriage and I would support the traditional definition of marriage not out of hate but that I believe that's just best for society," said Graham, a Republican from South Carolina. "At the end of the day states will come out differently on this issue and I think that's the way it should be."
(CNN) - With tax hikes and federal spending cuts only weeks away, President Barack Obama said he is 'optimistic' a deal will be met to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff and anticipates Republicans will not hold middle-class taxes 'hostage' in budget negotiations.
"I remain optimistic that there are enough people of goodwill in this town that recognize our economy will be much better off; American families will be much better off if we get this done," the president said in an interview with Barbara Walters on ABC, which aired in part on Tuesday. "The most important thing we can do is make sure middle-class taxes do not go up on January 1st, and I'm pretty confident that Republicans would not hold middle class taxes hostage to try to protect tax cuts for high income individuals."
(CNN) -- Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said while the party's committee is not an organization to recommend policy changes to Congress, he believes messaging plays an important role and anticipates a more 'granular' approach to presenting GOP policies.
Priebus, who told RNC members in a letter last week he would seek re-election as the committee's leader, has said his party is planning an "autopsy" to locate areas where the GOP struggled to gain support in last month's elections.
Washington (CNN) - House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama spoke on the phone Tuesday evening after House Republican leaders sent a new offer on a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff on Tuesday.
"We sent the White House a counter-offer that would achieve tax and entitlement reform to solve our looming debt crisis and create more American jobs," Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker Boehner, told CNN.
CNN's GUT CHECK | for December 11, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
DEVELOPING: MICHIGAN LAWMAKERS PASS BILLS WEAKENING UNION POWER… As protesters descended on the Michigan Statehouse Tuesday, legislators passed a controversial "right-to-work" measure that would weaken unions' power. The House approved two bills, which the Senate already passed last week. Both chambers are dominated by Republicans. Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, has said he will sign the legislation, which would allow workers at union-represented employers to forgo paying dues. – Tami Luhby
REPLACING DEMINT: FIRST ON CNN: HALEY FINALIZES SHORT LIST FOR DEMINT SEAT... South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has whittled down the list of people she is considering for Jim DeMint's soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat to five people, a Republican close to the governor told CNN on Tuesday. Her final choices for the seat are Rep. Tim Scott, Rep. Trey Gowdy, former state Attorney General Henry McMaster, former South Carolina First Lady Jenny Sanford and Catherine Templeton, a conservative attorney chosen by Haley to head the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. One thing they have in common: a warm personal relationship with the governor, who is known to prize loyalty. – Peter Hamby
(CNN) - Jimmy Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, said Tuesday he expects Michigan unions and lawmakers to break out into "civil war" after the state legislature passed right-to-work bills that would weaken unions' power.
"This is just the first round of a battle that's going to divide this state. We're going to have a civil war," Hoffa said on CNN's "Newsroom."
(CNN) – As the nation's top court prepares to tackle the contentious issue of same-sex marriage, one of its most conservative justices defended past writings linking bans on homosexual sodomy to bans on sex with animals and murder.
Speaking at Princeton Monday, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia said his previous comments, made in multiple Supreme Court dissents, were effective in making the argument that legislatures should be able to ban behavior deemed immoral.
(CNN) – Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut parted with two of his close friends in the Senate - Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham - on the question of Susan Rice's role after the Libya consulate attack and whether it could affect a potential cabinet nomination.
"I've been over all of the intelligence that we had before she went on TV that Sunday morning, I went over all of her comments. I don't think she's disqualified based on anything she said that morning," the senator said, reiterating his defense of the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
(CNN) – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie now has a Democratic challenger as he runs for re-election next year, but it's probably not the candidate you may have had in mind.
New Jersey state Sen. Barbara Buono Tuesday officially announced her bid for governor in an email to supporters and on her campaign website. In a video, the Democratic state lawmaker criticized the tough-talking Republican governor.