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Ear to the Ground

Fiscal Cliff Blame Game, a Hillary Clinton Health Update, and More

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Posted on Dec 31, 2012

Over the Edge: The House is planning to adjourn Monday without voting on a bill that would delay the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that will kick in Jan. 1. Unless the GOP changes its mind and adds more votes to the schedule—provided, of course that the White House and Senate Republicans even reach a deal to vote on—the U.S. will head over the so-called fiscal cliff. How appropriate. The Congress that has been the least productive in more than 60 years could not come to an agreement. (Read more)

Crying Foul: Naturally, some Republicans have taken to blaming President Obama because of a news conference he held Monday in which he chastised Congress and called on it to finish working on a debt-reduction deal. “I was very disappointed to hear what the president had to say in front of a prep rally,” Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said. “I know the president has fun heckling Congress, but I think he probably lost a number of votes with this.” Added Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.: “What did the president of the United States just do? He sent a message of confrontation to Republicans.” They shouldn’t complain. After all, the president did just give those guys a raise. (Read more)

Clinton’s Condition: Doctors are optimistic that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will make a full recovery from the blood clot that formed near her brain after a concussion. Her doctors say Clinton is being treated with blood thinners and is making excellent progress. She will be allowed to go home once medication dosage is established. Clinton was admitted Sunday to New York-Presbyterian Hospital after an exam revealed the clot. (Read more)

Clinton Questions: Not everyone is convinced about Hillary’s health. NBC’s top science and health reporter is raising questions about whether Clinton’s blood clot is actually the result of a concussion or something else. “All we have is a statement from her office. The hospital isn’t saying anything and the statement from her [office] says that she had this blood clot that stemmed from the concussion and she’s being treated with blood-thinning drugs,” Robert Bazell said. “The problem is that usually when blood clots come from concussions, they can’t be treated with blood [thinners.] So either it’s not really related to the concussion and she’s got a blood clot in her leg or something, or there’s something else going on that we’re not being told.” (Read more)

Frank Opposition: Count outgoing Rep. Barney Frank. D-Mass., among those opposed to President Obama nominating Chuck Hagel to become the next secretary of defense. Hagel has come under criticism for anti-gay remarks he made in 1998 about openly gay U.S. Ambassador James Hormel. Hagel recently apologized for them and said they were an aberration, but Frank points to the former Nebraska senator’s anti-LGBT record. “He voted consistently against fairness for LGBT people and there does not seem to be any evidence prior to his effort to become secretary of defense of any apology or retraction of his attack on James Hormel. And to those of us who admire and respect Mr. Hormel, Sen. Hagel’s description of him as aggressive can only mean that the senator strongly objected to Hormel’s reasoned, civil advocacy for LGBT people,” he said. (Read more)

Maryland’s Midnight Marriages: Midnight won’t be just the start of a new year for some gay couples in Maryland; it will also represent their first opportunity to wed as the state’s marriage-equality law takes effect. Maryland voters in November approved legalizing gay marriage. Because courthouses will be closed Tuesday for New Year’s Day, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has decided to open City Hall on Monday night so that at least seven same-sex couples can marry. (Read more)

Video of the Year: Probably no single video did as much to influence the 2012 presidential election as the one in which Mitt Romney, unaware that he was being recorded, wrote off nearly half of the electorate with his infamous 47 percent remarks. “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what ... who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims. ... These are people who pay no income tax ... and so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” he said. The video was recorded in May and went viral in September, wreaking havoc on Romney’s ultimately failed presidential campaign.

 

—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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