2:15: Michelle Obama visits the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
3:30: President Obama meets with Ambassador Susan Rice
Susan Rice (Washington Post): On Thursday I asked that President Obama no longer consider me for the job of secretary of state. I made this decision because it is the right step for this country I love. I have never shied away from a fight for a cause I believe in. But, as it became clear that my potential nomination would spark an enduring partisan battle, I concluded that it would be wrong to allow this debate to continue distracting from urgent national priorities — creating jobs, growing our economy, addressing our deficit, reforming our immigration system and protecting our national security.
These are the issues that deserve our focus, not a controversy about me….
Jonathan Bernstein: Don’t jump to conclusions about Susan Rice …. I’d caution everyone to wait a bit before drawing any firm conclusions about what happened here. We don’t know she was Barack Obama’s first choice. We don’t know, if she was the top choice, why she didn’t wind up the pick…..
…. We’ll hear those claims the loudest from whoever has the loudest megaphone (and the Republican partisan press is an awfully loud megaphone). Doesn’t make it more likely that those who take credit the loudest were those responsible. If anyone was responsible.
….. All that said: if Obama backed off of Rice purely because he was afraid of a fight with Republicans, it’s probably a poor choice… although it depends, a bit, on whether he had counted the votes and knew she couldn’t get confirmed, as opposed to simply wanting to avoid a messy but successful confirmation.
ABC: President Obama says recreational users of marijuana in states that have legalized the substance should not be a “top priority” of federal law enforcement officials prosecuting the war on drugs.
“We’ve got bigger fish to fry,” Obama said of pot users in Colorado and Washington during an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Barbara Walters.
“It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal,” he said, invoking the same approach taken toward users of medicinal marijuana in 18 states where it’s legal.
More of Barbara Walters’ exclusive first joint, post-election interview with President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama airs tonight on “20/20″ at 10 p.m. ET on ABC stations.
President Barack Obama meets with senior advisors in the Oval Office, Dec. 13, 2012. Pictured, clockwise from the President, are: Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett; Pete Rouse, Counselor to the President; Senior Advisor David Plouffe; Rob Nabors, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs; Chief of Staff Jack Lew; and Director of Communications Dan Pfeiffer. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
It’s important to make this point, because I keep seeing articles about the “fiscal cliff” that do, in fact, describe it — often in the headline — as a debt crisis. But it isn’t. The U.S. government is having no trouble borrowing to cover its deficit. In fact, its borrowing costs are near historic lows. And even the confrontation over the debt ceiling that looms a few months from now if we do somehow manage to avoid going over the fiscal cliff isn’t really about debt.
No, what we’re having is a political crisis, born of the fact that one of our two great political parties has reached the end of a 30-year road. The modern Republican Party’s grand, radical agenda lies in ruins — but the party doesn’t know how to deal with that failure, and it retains enough power to do immense damage as it strikes out in frustration.
President Obama and First Lady Michele Obama speak with Rabbi Larry Bazer, the Joint Forces Chaplain for the Massachusetts National Guard, at the end of the Hanukkah reception at the White House, December 13