By Tracy Bloom
Office Politics: President Obama on Monday announced the nominations of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to become the next defense secretary and John Brennan to lead the CIA, filling out his second term national security team. Hagel, however, could be in for a tough confirmation fight: The Republican’s views on the Middle East and on cutting the defense budget, in addition to anti-gay comments he made more than a decade ago, have been sources of controversy in recent weeks. (Read more)
Return to Work: A few days after being released from a New York hospital, Hillary Clinton was back on the job for the first time in weeks since suffering a concussion and a blood clot near her brain. The secretary of state was greeted by her staff with a standing ovation Monday, as well as some gifts: a football helmet—ostensibly to prevent further concussions—and a jersey, both featuring the State Department logo. (Read more)
One in a Trillion: President Obama should “absolutely” mint a platinum $1 trillion coin to deal with the deficit if Republicans try to force the U.S. into default, economist Paul Krugman writes in The New York Times. According to Krugman, this is a perfectly legal solution. He explains: “There’s a legal loophole allowing the Treasury to mint platinum coins in any denomination the secretary chooses. ... And by minting a $1 trillion coin, then depositing it at the Fed, the Treasury could acquire enough cash to sidestep the debt ceiling—while doing no economic harm at all.” (Read more)
Nasty Weather: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he “simply misspoke” when he declared last week that Hurricane Katrina was “nothing in comparison” to Hurricane Sandy. The comment prompted Sen. David Vitter, R-La., to take to Twitter, where he called Reid “an idiot.” New year, still no civility on the Hill. (Read more)
March to Marriage Equality: All eyes will be on the Supreme Court in late March when the justices hear oral arguments for two cases involving same-sex marriage. On March 26, the court will review Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that voters passed in 2008 banning gay marriage in California. The next day, the justices will listen to arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law that excludes gay couples from receiving the same benefits as heterosexual ones. The scheduling for the cases was announced Monday. (Read more)
Offspring Fling: William Hilton Paul, the 19-year-old son of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was arrested and charged with underage drinking and disorderly conduct in connection with an incident that happened over the weekend at North Carolina’s Charlotte Douglas International Airport. “Sen. Paul is a national public figure and subject to scrutiny in the public arena, however, as many parents with teenagers would understand, his family should be afforded the privacy and respect they deserve in a situation such as this,” a statement issued by Paul’s office said. (Read more)
Video of the Day: Donald Trump, who is the best negotiator of all time ever (really, he’s the best at everything, as long as you accept the caveat that it’s all in his own mind), slammed Republicans for caving to President Obama on the fiscal cliff. Because, as Donald told the “Fox & Friends” gang, if he were House speaker, the president “would have folded.” Just like he folded when Trump delivered his ludicrous offer to Obama at the end of October, right? Oh, wait ...