Update 9:25 p.m. ET, 12/5/2013
Washington (CNN) - When asked who would make a better successor – Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton – President Barack Obama joked that there was, "Not a chance am I going there." And quickly added, "Both Hillary and Joe would make outstanding presidents and possess the qualities that are needed to be outstanding presidents."
Obama made the remarks in a wide ranging interview on MSNBC with Chris Matthews. He tackled issues from Obamacare and the NSA to the political stalemate in Washington and the faltering economy.
Washington (CNN) - Note to anyone watching the high-stakes, trillion-dollar budget talks in Washington: you can take a break from constantly checking for a deal. Senior Republican and Democratic aides tell CNN that the two leaders running negotiations have left Washington for the weekend and any agreement is not expected until next week.
House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan has returned to Wisconsin and Senate Budget Chairman Patty Murray is in Washington state, the aides confirm.
CNN's GUT CHECK | for December 5, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: NELSON MANDELA DIES … The revered statesman who emerged from prison after 27 years to lead South Africa out of its dark days of apartheid, has died. He was 95.
Mandela battled health issues in recent years, including a recurring lung infection that led to numerous hospitalizations. In a nation healing from the scars of apartheid, Mandela became the moral compass.
His defiance of white-minority rule and his incarceration for fighting against segregation focused the world's attention on South Africa's apartheid system, making him a symbol of the struggle for racial equality. In his lifetime, he was a man of complexities. He went from being considered a terrorist, to an imprisoned freedom fighter, to a unifying figure, to an elder statesman respected worldwide.
SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA: “Our nation has lost his greatest son. Our people have lost a father. Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss. His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world. His humility, his compassion and his humanity earned him their love. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mandela family. To them we owe a debt of gratitude. They have sacrificed much and endured much so that our people could be free.”
Washington (CNN) – A top lobbying group for federal workers rushed to Capitol Hill Thursday, following news that budget negotiators were considering a $20 billion change in government workers’ paychecks. The fast pushback is a potential political issue for budget leaders who aides say have been getting closer to a deal.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, who sits on the budget compromise committee, told reporters Thursday that Republicans were pushing for, and negotiators have been discussing, a proposal to increase how much most federal workers contribute toward their pension. A senior Republican House aide confirmed to CNN that the idea has been on the table in spending talks.
(CNN) - The world has "lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings" with the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela, U.S. President Barack Obama said. "He belongs to the ages."
See below for the President's full remarks on the death of Nelson Mandela.
(CNN) – U.S. lawmakers and former presidents from both sides of the aisle took time Thursday to mark the death of Nelson Mandela, the prisoner-turned-president who reconciled South Africa after the end of apartheid, is dead.
Mandela was age 95.
(CNN) – Nelson Mandela, the revered statesman who emerged from prison after 27 years to lead South Africa out of decades of apartheid, has died, South African President Jacob Zuma announced late Thursday. He was 95.
The former president battled health issues in recent months, including a recurring lung infection that led to numerous hospitalizations.FULL STORY
Update 7:12 p.m. ET, 12/6/2013
(CNN) - The White House clarified Thursday that President Barack Obama did live with his Kenyan uncle in Cambridge, Massachusetts for a "brief period of time" before attending Harvard Law School in the 1980s after previously saying there was no record of the two ever meeting.
The clarification comes amid GOP criticism over the issue of Obama’s honesty and trustworthiness, two personal traits the president has taken a hit on in recent polls.
(CNN) - Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky will travel to Michigan Friday to announce his plan to rescue the Detroit, the largest U.S. city in history to enter bankruptcy.
The potential GOP presidential candidate said Thursday on a conference call with reporters that he'll introduce a bill next week that would enact what he calls "Economic Freedom Zones," or, as he put it on Fox News, "Enterprise Zones on steroids."
Washington (CNN) – Republican Sen. Ted Cruz's advice for a conservative group facing criticism and hardship: "Stand your ground."
The choice of words appeared to be a reference to a string of negative press the American Legislative Exchange Council – a group made up of conservative legislators and corporate members – received for backing laws similar to the controversial "Stand your ground" self-defense law that made national headlines in 2012 and 2013.