Too Closed for Comfort:

House Republicans may resort to dramatic measures in order to get President Obama to cut government spending by the end of March. One of the “solutions” they’re looking at is simply not budging in the debt ceiling fight, which will result in the U.S. going into default. Another option: shutting down the government. Because a government shutdown worked out so well for the GOP in 1995, right Republicans (and especially Newt Gingrich)? (Read more)

Stern Warning: President Obama admonished Republicans on Monday over their refusal to raise the debt ceiling, telling reporters during the last news conference of his first presidential term that the GOP’s negotiating stance is endangering the U.S. economy. “They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy,” Obama said. “To even entertain the idea of this happening, of America not paying its bills, is irresponsible. It’s absurd.” (Read more)

Home Sweet Home: George H.W. Bush is out of the hospital and back at his Houston house for the first time in nearly two months. The 88-year-old former president was being treated for bronchitis, a persistent cough and a bacterial infection. During December, he was in intensive care for several days because of a “stubborn” fever. Bush said he was “touched” by all the well wishes he received from “friends and fellow Americans.” He added: “Your prayers and good wishes helped more than you know, and as I head home my only concern is that I will not be able to thank each of you for your kind words.” (Read more)

Official Business: There will be some fresh faces in the second-term Obama administration with the president selecting new secretaries of state and defense, and a new CIA director. But some familiar faces will be back as well, including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Both will be staying on during President Obama’s second term, it was announced Monday. The president also addressed criticism Monday that his second term Cabinet lacked diversity after he picked several white males to fill high-profile positions (like the ones mentioned above). He said he ”would just suggest that everybody kind of wait until they’ve seen all my appointments … before they rush to judgment.” (Read more)

Never Say Never: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas ended his nearly seven-year silence during oral arguments, though not to ask a question or make a substantive point. No, the justice spoke up to make fun of lawyers from his alma mater, Yale Law School. Or it may have been Harvard Law School. It’s unclear, since the court reporter didn’t pick up what exactly Thomas said because of laughing in the courtroom. The last time Thomas spoke during oral arguments was February 2006. (Read more)

Video of the Day: Bill Clinton got quite the warm welcome when he introduced a clip of best picture nominee “Lincoln” at the Golden Globes on Sunday night, as evidenced by the standing ovation he was given at the awards show. Hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, however, seemed more impressed by his wife than they were of the former president. “Wow! What an exciting special guest. That was Hillary Clinton’s husband!” Poehler said after he got off stage. Responded Fey, “That was Bill Rodham Clinton!”

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