POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Wednesday, December 1, 2010
December 1st, 2010
04:42 AM ET
12 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world. Click on the headlines for more.

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CNN: Obama tells Republicans he should have worked more with them
A political summit between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders Tuesday yielded further talks on how to extend Bush-era tax breaks scheduled to expire at the end of the year, as well as an acknowledgement from Obama that he needs to reach out more to Republicans. The meeting, dubbed by some the "Slurpee summit" for a campaign dig by Obama at congressional Republicans, involved the president and leaders of both parties from the House and Senate. It came in the aftermath of the November midterm election in which Republicans took control of the House and gained six seats in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Originally proposed by Obama as a half-day event that could extend into dinner, the meeting was postponed once by Republican leaders and ended up lasting about two hours. Afterward, Obama and Republican leaders said they wanted to work together, but they also made clear that sharp differences exist on major issues.

CNN Money: Obama debt panel delays final vote
The leaders of President Obama's debt commission said Tuesday that they would delay a vote on final recommendations until Friday. The vote was originally scheduled for Wednesday. The commission's co-chairmen, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, said they would still release the panel's report on Wednesday so the members can review it. It will be an amended version of a plan Bowles and Simpson put out three weeks ago. In the Bowles-Simpson plan, the co-chairmen attacked every area of the federal budget and offered ways to reform the tax code. The plan would reduce nearly $4 trillion from deficits over the next decade.

Roll Call: House May Block Food Safety Bill Over Senate Error
A food safety bill that has burned up precious days of the Senate’s lame-duck session appears headed back to the chamber because Democrats violated a constitutional provision requiring that tax provisions originate in the House. By pre-empting the House’s tax-writing authority, Senate Democrats appear to have touched off a power struggle with members of their own party in the House. The Senate passed the bill Tuesday, sending it to the House, but House Democrats are expected to use a procedure known as “blue slipping” to block the bill, according to House and Senate GOP aides.

CNN: House approves measure funding black farmers' settlement
The U.S. House on Tuesday passed a $1.15 billion measure to fund a settlement initially reached between the Agriculture Department and minority farmers more than a decade ago. The 1997 Pigford v. Glickman case against the U.S. Agriculture Department over claims of discrimination against black farmers was settled out of court 11 years ago. Under a federal judge's terms dating to 1999, qualified farmers could receive $50,000 each to settle claims of racial bias.

Bloomberg: Cap-and-Trade Market Spanning North America Weighed by States
California, New Mexico and 10 U.S. Northeastern states may try to create a North American carbon market on their own now that President Barack Obama has given up on cap-and-trade legislation that stalled in Congress. The emissions-trading system would be based on a planned carbon market in California, the most populous state, and an existing regional cap-and-trade program for power plants in the Northeast, according to state environmental officials. Three Canadian provinces have also shown interest in a cross-border carbon-trading system, the officials said.

CNN: O'Malley to take over as DGA chairman
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley will be named Wednesday as the incoming head of the Democratic Governors Association, a Democratic source confirms to CNN. O'Malley, who won re-election earlier this month to a second term by a double digit margin over former Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich, is expected to be formally announced as incoming chairman at a meeting of a dozen Democratic governors and governor-elects here in the nation's capitol.

Roll Call: RNC Contenders Lining Up Against Steele
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele would be very lucky to keep his job after the RNC’s mid-January meeting. As Steele continues to waver on whether he’ll run for re-election, candidates for the RNC chairmanship are building up their own images by drawing a contrast with his. Steele’s reputation for disorganization, gaffes and media scrutiny, problems with fundraising and shaky conservative credentials have led to a practical mutiny among much of the committee’s membership, the 168 Republicans who will choose the next chairman.

Detroit News: Rep. Conyers: Son inappropriately used vehicle
U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit, today called his son's use of his congressional vehicle over the Thanksgiving holiday "inappropriate" after the SUV was broken into and items were stolen. The longtime congressman released the statement from Washington after news broke of his son, John Conyers III, filing a police report early Thanksgiving morning that the 2010 Cadillac Escalade registered to his dad's Detroit office had two laptops and $27,500 worth of concert tickets stolen from it. The SUV was parked at the corner of Brush and Congress. "I am sorry it happened and will make sure that it does not happen again," Conyers said in a statement. "I will review the full circumstances of the use of this vehicle and make restitution to the Treasury for any non-official use."

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CNN: Pentagon: Letting openly gay troops serve won't hurt military
Allowing openly gay or lesbian troops serve in the military would have little lasting impact on the U.S. armed forces, according to a long-awaited Pentagon review of the controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Repealing the policy would have "some limited and isolated disruption to unit cohesion and retention," the year-long study found, but the effects would not be long-lasting or widespread. "The general lesson we take from ... transformational experiences in history is that in matters of personnel change within the military, predictions and surveys tend to overestimate negative consequences, and underestimate the U.S. military's ability to adapt and incorporate within it ranks the diversity that is reflective of American society at large," the report concluded.

CNN: Axelrod: Don't Ask, Don't Tell will end
President Obama's senior adviser David Axelrod is adamant that the "don't ask, don't tell" policy will end. During an interview with CNN Lead Political Anchor Wolf Blitzer in the Situation Room, Axelrod said of the military's controversial "don't ask, don't tell" provision, "This policy is gonna end." Axelrod maintained that Obama "has made it clear that he is intent on ending this policy" and that "we're depriving patriotic young Americans of their right to serve."

CNN: King: Blame the Pentagon
New York Republican Rep. Peter King is blasting the Pentagon for the release of confidential State Department documents by the controversial whistle-blowing website Wikileaks. During an interview with CNN Lead Political Anchor Wolf Blitzer in the Situation Room Tuesday, the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee blamed the Defense Department for failing to secure documents that were allegedly leaked at the hands of an army private. King asserted that the Pentagon should have had more precautions and a "failsafe" procedure to prevent the release of sensitive information, and stated that he was not convinced enough was done.

Des Moines Register: FDA clears DeCoster farms for limited egg sales
The Food and Drug Administration has cleared Wright County Egg to resume limited sales of fresh shell eggs. The Galt, Ia.-based company, owned by Jack DeCoster, has been barred from shipping shell eggs since a salmonella outbreak was linked to the operation in August, forcing a nationwide recall of 550 million eggs produced by Wright County Egg and a second firm. The resumption of sales will be limited to two of 18 barns on one of the company’s six farms. The agency said its decision was based on corrective actions that the company had taken in those two hen houses. Among other measures, all hens in those barns at the time of the outbreak have been removed and the buildings have been cleaned, sanitized and tested to ensure that they are no longer contaminated with salmonella, the FDA said. The company also has developed a biosecurity plan to minimize the risk of contamination from other barns or farms.

FOX News: 'Don't Tread on Me' License Plates Become a Growing Trend in the U.S.
Fans of the Gadsden Flag may soon be able to display its familiar rattlesnake and "Don't Tread on Me" message every time they pull out of the driveway. At least three states - Virginia, Nevada and Texas - are weighing or have already approved proposals to add "Don't Tread on Me" specialty license plates to their state rosters. The Gadsden Flag, originally used by the U.S. Marine Corps during the American Revolution, was meant to represent the 13 original colonies and their battle for independence from the British monarchy. It has recently been adopted by some Tea Party groups as a message against big government.

CNN: Rosa Parks' legacy endures decades later
An act of civil disobedience 55 years ago - Rosa Parks' refusal to move to the back of a city bus - made the seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama, a pivotal symbol in America's civil rights movement. Wednesday marks the 55th anniversary of the civil disobedience on December 1, 1955. Parks did not intend to get arrested as she made her way home from work that day. Little did the 42-year-old seamstress know that her acts would help end segregation laws in the South.

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CNN: Interpol puts Assange on most-wanted list
Interpol, at the request of a Swedish court looking into alleged sex crimes from earlier this year, has put WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on its most-wanted listed. The Stockholm Criminal Court two weeks ago issued an international arrest warrant for Assange on probable cause, saying he is suspected of rape, sexual molestation and illegal use of force in August incidents. Sweden asked Interpol, the international police organization, to post a "Red Notice" after a judge approved a motion to bring him into custody.

Time: WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Tells TIME: Hillary Clinton 'Should Resign'
Hillary Clinton, Julian Assange said, "should resign." Speaking over Skype from an undisclosed location on Tuesday, the WikiLeaks founder was replying to a question by TIME managing editor Richard Stengel over the diplomatic-cable dump that Assange's organization loosed on the world this past weekend. Stengel had said the U.S. Secretary of State was looking like "the fall guy" in the ensuing controversy, and had asked whether her firing or resignation was an outcome that Assange wanted. "I don't think it would make much of a difference either way," Assange said. "But she should resign if it can be shown that she was responsible for ordering U.S. diplomatic figures to engage in espionage in the United Nations, in violation of the international covenants to which the U.S. has signed up. Yes, she should resign over that."

CNN: Russia will build up forces without New START, Putin says
Russia will have to build up its nuclear forces if the United States fails to ratify the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty the two countries signed this year, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warns in an upcoming CNN interview. "That's not our choice. We don't want that to happen. But this is not a threat on our part," Putin told CNN's Larry King in an interview to air Wednesday. "We've been simply saying that this is what all of us expects to happen if we don't agree on a joint effort there."

CNN: World AIDS Day comes amid progress, concern
As the global community commemorates World AIDS Day on Wednesday, international health organizations report both promising and sobering trends. While the United Nations says new HIV infections have declined by almost 20 percent worldwide over the past decade, the estimated number of children living with HIV or AIDS in 11 Asian countries has increased by 46 percent between 2001 and 2009, the World Health Organization's South-East Asia office said Wednesday. "In 2001, an estimated 89,000 children were living with HIV/AIDS," said Vismita Gupta-Smith, public information and advocacy officer for WHO's regional office in New Delhi, India. "In 2009, there are an estimated 130,000 children living with HIV infection," including recent HIV infection, advanced HIV infection and AIDS.

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Bloomberg: Citigroup Said to Discuss Hiring Former White House Budget Director Orszag
Citigroup Inc., recovering from its $45 billion bailout in 2008, is in advanced talks to hire former White House Budget Director Peter Orszag, people with knowledge of the matter said. Orszag, 41, may take a job in the New York-based firm’s investment-banking division, the people said, declining to be identified because the discussions are private. An announcement may come as early as today, one of the people said. Orszag, an economist trained at Princeton University and the London School of Economics, helped shape U.S. economic stimulus during the financial crisis and overhaul the health- care system. The youngest member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet, he spent 18 months as White House budget director, stepping down in July.

Detroit Free Press: Chrysler hiring 1,000 vehicle engineers
Chrysler is hiring 1,000 engineers for small and mid-size vehicles, as future product plans are expanded or accelerated, and it is asking employees to help recruit qualified candidates. Available positions for 1,000 engineers and other types of positions will be posted soon on http://www.chrysler.com. While laid-off Chrysler workers are free to apply for available positions, those who took buyouts are not, said Chrysler spokesman Mike Palese. The Auburn Hills automaker has added 3,875 workers worldwide between June 30, 2009, and June 9, 2010, according to data Chrysler released Tuesday.

In Case You Missed It

Senator Chris Dodd delivers his farewell speech on the Senate floor.

Russia's Vladimir Putin tells CNN's Larry King that leaks have happened before, and WikiLeaks is not a catastrophe.

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