This morning on "Early Start," Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) previews President Obama's State of the Union address and solutions for the economy.
Rush transcript available after the jump.
CNN's Chris Lawrence on possible grilling of fmr. Sen. Chuck Hagel in a confirmation hearing for Defense Secretary.
A very rare sight: President Barack Obama and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sitting down together for a joint interview.
As Clinton prepares to leave office on Friday, the two indulged in a lot of mutual praise while talking to "60 Minutes."
This morning on "Early Start," Fmr. Asst. Sec. of State Jamie Rubin explains the 'unusual' interview and what it could mean for President Obama and Secretary Clinton's legacy.
President Obama is looking at a tough second term ahead as he re-stocks his cabinet, getting criticized for his choices by politicians from both parties. He officially nominated former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican, to replace Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense. The president said Monday, "Chuck Hagel's leadership of our military would be historic. He'd be the first person of enlisted rank to serve as Secretary of Defense. One of the few secretaries who have been wounded in war and the first Vietnam veteran to lead the department.”
The president also gave a nod to his Anti-Terrorism Chief John Brennan to be the next Director of The CIA. But it's Hagel who's getting the most scrutiny as critics pick apart comments he made in the past. Peter Beinart is a Special Correspondent for Newsweek & The Daily Beast and the author of "The Crisis of Zionism". He wrote a very in-depth piece about the implications of Hagel's nomination and comes to “Early Start” this morning with his take.
Hagel, who has publicly expressed his opposition to war, is being criticized for it by politicians for his views on sanctions and military action in Iran. Beinart believes Hagel is just considering the enormous financial costs of imposing wars. “He’s a lot like Dwight Eisenhower, who people forget drove the defense budget down quite dramatically,” Beinart says. “He believed America’s real power was its fiscal health.” Hagel is also being scrutinized for his position on Israel and relationship with the Jewish community, who many believe he does not support and some equate to anti-Semitic. Beinart refutes this assessment. "I think this is really a smoke screen," Beinart says. "I think it's character assasination to be honest."
The 2012 election may be over, but speculation over 2016 has already begun. A recent CNN poll showed Hillary Clinton well above all other potential names. But who else is a rising political star to watch out for in 2013? McKay Coppins is the Political Editor of Buzzfeed.com. While most of us made a list of New Year’s resolutions, he comes to the studio with today his list of top newsmakers to keep an eye out for in 2013.
Only 18 days remain until the U.S. falls over the fiscal cliff unless leaders in Washington can agree on a deal to avert it. But no deal is yet in sight. Despite House Speaker Boehner and other republican leaders taking a hard line on whether to raise taxes, others within the party seem more willing to compromise. This is the latest signal of disagreement within the Republican Party since the election last month.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins comes to the studio to talk about this clash and the future of the Republican Party.
Perkins refers to a recent Wall Street Journal poll where “two thirds of the people say we could use more taxes, but they need to be coupled with spending cuts.” “I think people realize that we’ve come to a point if we continue to kick the can of fiscal responsibility down the road," Perkins says, “we’re gonna end up kicking the can as a country.”
Perkins also remarks on the GOP struggling with hard-line conservative stances. He says moderate candidates from Republican Party lost in the 2012 election for not keeping to “their founding principles.” But conservative candidates like Todd Akin lost as well, having kept to those principles. “It was a bad cycle for Republicans,” where certain candidates, “weren’t prepared for some of the tough issues and how to talk about those issues successfully, which other candidates have successfully talked about.”
Just 25 days away from the looming fiscal cliff, all eyes are on talks in Washington. The New York Times is reporting private negotiations between House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama. And the latest shakeup in politics is the resignation of Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina. Who will fill his seat?
Ryan Lizza is a CNN Contributor and Washington Correspondent for The New Yorker. Lizza comes to the studio this morning with his take.
The country is only 27 days away from tumbling over the fiscal cliff. Yet, neither side is budging to come closer to a deal. CNN Contributor John Avlon says that most politicians don't want to go over the cliff, but some partisans might derail the discussions on both sides. In a recently published CNN opinion piece, Avlons calls members of Congress the "Cliff-Deniers". He writes:
There is danger ahead—a growing chorus of ideological activists on both sides who insist there is no reason to fear going over the fiscal cliff, if the cliff exists at all. Call them The Cliff-Deniers. Listening to all-or-nothing advocates got us into this mess in the first place, leading directly to the loss of America's AAA credit rating. Listening to them again would be the definition of insanity.
The Author of "Deadline Artists – Scandals, Tragedies & Triumphs: America's Greatest Newspaper Columns", Avlon comes to the studio with his take on the stalemate in Washington.
"Right now, we are in the stage of public positional bargaining, and both sides making opening bids that the other side immediately dismisses as not serious, but of course this is serious," Avlon says. "This is a self inflicted crisis. And Washington is playing chicken with the fiscal cliff."
The fiscal cliff is just 32 days away. With Democrats and Republicans both refusing to compromise, Zoraida speaks to a representative from each party to sort through the details.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas says her main focus is to fight for the working class who is being ignored. "That is what the bottom line is for the president and for Democrats, to protect benefits in a reasonable manner, and to ensure that we have the revenue to bring down the deficit and to continue to operate in the needs of the American people," Lee said.
Kansas Republican Congressman Tim Huelskamp does not like the President's newest proposal, but does like some of Obama's past ideas, "I agree with the president from two years ago when he said you can't raise taxes in the middle of a recession. I think the economy is lower than it was last year. Slower than it was the year before, and we have this idea and notion that somehow raising taxes is going to create jobs."
As for compromising, the Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus Lee favors focusing on growing the economy and not increasing cuts. She wants the Republican party to see eye to eye on that priority as well, "If my Republican friends would think about the working people of America, stop the war on working people of America, and not adhere to the fact that in a recession, you must constantly focus on the deficit. Most economists say focus on growth," she said.
Huelskamp agrees with her that progress can only be made by focusing on gaining revenue, "We have about 23 million Americans looking for work. Raising taxes doesn't create jobs. If we want more revenue in Washington we need to grow the economy. We need to talk about ways we can grow the economy and get Washington out of the way so people can go back to work, he said."
Instead of pointing the blame at just one person or party, Huelskamp, the House Budget Committee member, says the problem lies in Washington as a whole, "I think one of the problems with Washington in general is these things are taking place behind closed doors. That didn't work out a year and a half ago when they put together a bad deal. Both sides, the president, majority leader, the speaker, that created this crisis."
Though she doesn't believe a resolution will be reached before Christmas, Lee is positive about avoiding falling off the cliff, "I am looking forward to reasonable men and women coming together as patriots, and ensuring that we will address this question for the American people." Huelskamp agrees that a a solution can be found if and when Congress focuses on the good of the nation, "It's not about Washington. It's not about what the politicians are thinking. It's about how do we create more jobs in America and get our economy growing again?"
With both President Obama and Senate leader John Boehner expressing optimisim on fiscal cliff negotiations, stock futures are all trading up this morning.
Several Fortune 500 CEOs met with the President to discuss raising taxes for those making more than $250,000. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein told The Situation Room's Wolf Blitzer yesterday, "If that's what it took to make the math work when you look at the entitlement side and the revenue side, I wouldn't preclude that. of course we would have to do that if the numbers drive that way." Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner will be making the rounds on Capitol Hill today in continued discussions on how to avoid the fiscal cliff.
The economy may be doing better. Today, the third quarter GDP is expected to be revised higher, up .8%.