December 13th, 2011
01:51 PM ET

Obama issues veto threat to House payroll tax bill

(CNN) - President Barack Obama would veto a House Republican proposal to extend the payroll tax cut - tied to speeding approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline - if it reached his desk, according to a White House policy statement Tuesday. The measure will come up for a House vote later Tuesday and if it passes, would then require approval by the Democratic-led Senate before going to Obama.


Topics: The News
Axelrod: Longer GOP primary helps Obama
Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod (Erika Dimmler/CNN)
December 13th, 2011
01:41 PM ET

Axelrod: Longer GOP primary helps Obama

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Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama's top re-election campaign advisers predict that an extended Republican primary battle will produce a weakened GOP nominee, and that a longer process could drain the independent Republican super PACs of much of their money.

And while top officials continue to focus most of their fire on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, one of them did compare new GOP front-runner and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to the rear end of a monkey.

Asked if Gingrich can sustain his front-runner over time, senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod said "I told my colleagues yesterday a bit of homespun wisdom that I got from an alderman in Chicago some years ago when one of his colleagues wanted to run for higher office and he was really dubious. He said, 'just remember the higher a monkey climbs on a pole, the more you can see his butt.' So, you know, the Speaker is very high on the pole right now and we'll see how people like the view."

Axelrod also described Gingrich's economic proposals as "far more radical than Romney's," and says if the former House speaker wins the nomination, there's plenty of material in Gingrich's record to use against him in a general election.

His comments came Tuesday as the top Obama campaign officials briefed political reporters in Washington on the campaign's strategy to win the 270 electoral votes needed for re-election next year.
FULL POST

Treasury to stop producing unneeded dollar coins
December 13th, 2011
01:00 PM ET

Treasury to stop producing unneeded dollar coins

Vice President Joe Biden and several cabinet secretaries announced today the administration's efforts to identify and eliminate misspent tax dollars. My favorite – the savings of $50 million annually by no longer minting unneeded and unwanted dollar coins. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal Wolin says they currently have a decade worth of excess coins on the shelves! From the White House release:

The Vice President and Secretary Geithner announced the Administration’s plan to stop the wasteful production of $1 coins for circulation. In 2005, Congress enacted the Presidential $1 Coin Act, which mandated that the United States Mint issue new Presidential $1 Coins with the likeness of every deceased President. But more than 40 percent of the $1 coins that the United States Mint has issued have been returned to the Federal Reserve, because nobody wants to use them.

As a result, nearly 1.4 billion excess dollar coins are already sitting unused in Federal Reserve Bank vaults – enough to meet demand for more than a decade. But until today, the Mint was on pace to produce an additional 1.6 billion dollar coins through 2016.

To put a stop to this waste the Administration will halt the production of Presidential $1 Coins for circulation. The Administration will still be required, by law, to continue to produce a relatively small number of the coins to be sold to collectors, at no cost to taxpayers. Instead of producing 70-80 million coins per President, the United States Mint will now only produce as many as collectors want. Regular circulating demand for $1 coins will be met through the Federal Reserve Banks' existing inventory, which will be drawn down over time. Overall, this step will save at least $50 million annually over the next several years.

“At the Treasury Department, we’re continuing to work hard in support of President Obama and Vice President Biden’s efforts to cut waste and streamline government,” said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. “Putting a stop to the minting of surplus $1 coins represents a significant opportunity to reduce costs and improve efficiency. In these tough times, Americans are making every dollar count, and they deserve the same from their government. We simply shouldn’t be wasting taxpayer money on money that taxpayers aren’t using.”

What is the First Lady planning to put under the tree for the President this Christmas?
December 13th, 2011
10:35 AM ET

What is the First Lady planning to put under the tree for the President this Christmas?

First Lady Michelle Obama met with patients and their families at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC on Monday. Before reading "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" to the children, she was asked about her favorite holiday story, the first family Christmas eve traditions and even what she planned to give the president for Christmas. Here is her answer:

Well, again, we go through this every year. I’m not going to say because it’s going to be reported in the paper and it won’t be a surprise. Because he will read it. And he’ll say, Oh, that's what you’re getting me. So you know I try to get him stuff that he likes to do, sports stuff, clothes. But the truth is, we generally - we always say we’re not going to give each other gifts because the gift is the love that we have for each other. Yes, that's a good thing. But then he usually gets me something. And then I’m like, we weren’t supposed to get each other stuff. so I got him something but I’m not going to say. All right? That make sense? Last year one of the kids suggested that I get him a hot tub. Remember that? We didn't get him a hot tub.


Topics: Christmas • Michelle Obama • The Buzz
POTUS's schedule for Tuesday, December 13, 2011
December 13th, 2011
08:00 AM ET

POTUS's schedule for Tuesday, December 13, 2011

President Obama continues his focus on the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq in the next couple of weeks by sitting down with local television affiliates for interviews  this morning. He'll be interviewed by WVEC from Norfolk, VA; WEAR from Pensacola, FL; and KOAA from Colorado Springs, CO- all markets near military bases. In guidance last night from the White House, "As we definitively end America's war in Iraq this month, the President will talk to anchors from television stations that have large military communities in their markets to discuss the enormous sacrifices and achievements of the brave Americans who served in the Iraq War, and he will speak about the extraordinary milestone of bringing the war in Iraq to an end." He'll also plans to talk about the payroll tax extensions and whatever other questions the interviewers ask.

Later this morning, the president turns his attention to the campaign and attends a campaign event at a local Washington, D.C. hotel.

For full guidance from the White House, click below. FULL POST


Topics: Daily Schedule • Iraq • The Vault