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December 3rd, 2012
09:50 AM ET

CNN Trends: Monday, December 3, 2012

In the Middle East, a thick moustache is seen as a sign of prestige. A Parisian cosmetic surgeon claims that the trend has spread. He says he has been busy collecting hair from other parts of the body to carry out moustache transplants.

Hugh Hefner is giving marriage a second try with his fiance who left him five days before their last wedding day. The 86 year old Playboy publisher will marry Crystal Harris on New Year's Eve at the Playboy mansion. Hefner is sixty years older than his bride to be.

The iPhone revolution is now influencing the names of the future generation. babycenter.com says that names like Apple, Siri, and Mas are rising up the popular baby names chart. Both Apple and Siri rose 15% and Mac went up 5%.

Filed under: 2012 • Trending
December 3rd, 2012
09:29 AM ET

Secretary of State Clinton issues stern warning to Syria; calls action a "red line"

There is growing concern within the Obama administration that the Assad regime in Syria may resort to chemical weapons in its ongoing fight with the rebels. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a stern warning this morning calling the potential use of such weapons a red line for the United States. With no public statement from the White House, Barbara Starr, Pentagon correspondent, stopped by Early Start to sort through the details.   

Syria has been watched closely because of their movement of weapons in the past, but this time, it's different.  "What they are seeing is movement that could potentially signal the use of chemical weapons. This typically would be matching up the chemical material with preparing it with a warhead, with artillery, with rockets, all the signs that they could be getting ready for an attack, " Barbara says. 

President Obama has stood by the United States' decision to call Syria's behavior a "red line." So what could this mean for the United States if Syria is preparing to attack? "I think it's fair to say they're going to go with extreme diplomatic pressure against the signs that they're seeing that this weapons inventory is being moved around and possibly, possibly being prepared for use. They're not sure yet what the intent really is," Starr assessed.

President Obama signed an executive order sanctioning Assad in January 2011.

November 30th, 2012
10:20 AM ET

Democrats and Republicans struggle to reach a compromise to avoid 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?"

Filed under: 2012 • Fiscal cliff • Politics
November 29th, 2012
08:54 AM ET

Minding Your Business: Thursday, November 29, 2012

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%.


Filed under: 2012 • Fiscal cliff • Minding Your Business • Politics
November 28th, 2012
08:41 AM ET

34 Days until massive tax hikes, spending cuts

Thirty four days remain until the United States falls off the fiscal cliff. Leaders in Congress are working toward a deal as the January 1 deadline edges in, but Democrats and Republicans are still at odds on their plans. Rep. Diane Black is a Republican from Tennessee. She's also a member of the Budget Commmittee and weighs in on “Early Start” this morning.

Filed under: 2012 • Fiscal cliff • Politics
November 28th, 2012
08:33 AM ET

President Obama meets with small businesses

President Obama met with 15 small business owners at the White House to discuss the fiscal cliff yesterday. Lisa Goodbee is the President of Goodbee & Associates, Inc., an engineering firm in Colorado. Goosbie was one of the 15 to meet with Obama. A member of the Small Business Majority Network Council, Goosbie joins “Early Start” live from WashingtonD.C. to talk about the meeting,

Filed under: 2012 • Politics
November 28th, 2012
08:32 AM ET

Ambassador Susan Rice faces the GOP

Ambassador Susan Rice faced three Republican senators yesterday to explain her side of the story after they criticized her for comments on Sunday talk shows regarding the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. She had suggested the attack was sparked by spontaneous protests in her September 16 interviews, and revealed yesterday that she was using unclassified talking points that excluded information linking the attack to al Qaeda. The GOP senators had only harsher criticisms of Rice after her meeting with them. CNN’s Dana Bash has the details.

Filed under: 2012 • Libya
November 27th, 2012
08:41 AM ET

Financial services committee member Congresswoman Maxine Waters discusses the fiscal cliff

Tensions are high in Washington as the January 1st fiscal cliff deadline nears.Politicians on both sides of the aisle have publicly shared willingness to compromise, but no deal is yet in sight.

A senior Democratic aide told CNN that talks haven't been productive, but they're still in the early stages, while GOP aides are only saying that talks are continuing. The White House said yesterday that the president is reaching out to leaders on both side of the aisle to touch base. 

Congresswoman Maxine Waters is a Democrat from California. She joins Deborah Feyerick on Early Start this morning to weigh in on the progress.

Rep. Waters is also the Chief Deputy Minority Whip and serves on the Financial Services and Judiciary Committees.

Filed under: 2012 • Fiscal cliff • Politics
November 27th, 2012
08:36 AM ET
November 27th, 2012
08:06 AM ET

'The Atlantic' editor argues for keeping deficits high

Only 35 days remain until automatic tax increases and spending cuts kick in unless Congress is able to avert the fiscal cliff.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle have publicly shared willingness to compromise, but no deal is yet in sight. Some are saying that a deal that reduces the country’s debt will both improve the economy and create jobs.

Senior editor of "The Atlantic," Derek Thompson, disagrees with that assessment. Thompson is the author of "The Best Way to Think About Deficit Reduction: It's Not Stimulus, It's Insurance”, and he joins Zoraida Sambolin on Early Start live from Washington D.C. this morning.

Filed under: 2012 • Fiscal cliff • Politics
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