Politics In 60 Seconds

Obama teleprompter

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Greetings,   President Obama asked for authority from Congress to reorganize the Executive Branch of government. Politico has the story:

Obama’s plan would merge the Commerce Department, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade representative and other independent business agencies into a new, unnamed Cabinet agency.

The president would need congressional approval to consolidate the agencies, and he virtually dared Republicans to vote against it, putting the GOP on the defensive for the second time in a month. The payroll tax cut fight forced Republicans lawmakers to choose whether to support the president or a tax increase. This would force them to support the president or the status quo — a tangled web of regulatory agencies that Republicans have held up as a barrier to job creation.

This is smart politics for a variety of reasons. Obama is boxing Republicans into a corner. They either give him a victory on their turf- streamlining and shrinking government, or they look like unprincipled and partisan hypocrites by denying it. 

The Republican Race

Via Talking Points Memo comes this chart of the South Carolina races. It shows that Newt Gingrich is closing in on Mitt Romney in South Carolina, with Paul currently sitting in third position, but moving up. 

Newt Gingrich’s attacks on Romney’s time at Bain Capital may be yielding something after all. Although all signs still point to Romney wrapping up the nomination with relative ease, if he somehow finished in third behind both Gingrich and Paul, the race could be truly scrambled. 

Your Political Reads:

The New York Times: SuperPACs help to prolong the Republican campaign season.

From Washington Post: Santorum’s Charity Spent Most On His Political Friends.

From NYT number-cruncher Nate Silver: Intra-Party Attacks Could Be A Liability for Mitt Romney.  

Shorter David Brooks: Great political leaders are born out of privilege, failure, and Providence, but we’re not allowed to talk about it. 

Shorter Charles Krauthammer: Ron Paul is doing something bigger than winning elections, he is thrusting libertarianism into the mainstream. 

This Day In Politics

On January 13, 1832 President Andrew Jackson wrote to Vice President Martin Van Buren expressing his opposition to South Carolina’s defiance of federal authority in the Nullification Crisis. South Carolina was looking to display the Tariff Laws of 1828 and 1832. 

Tweet of the Day

From the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein, on Newt Gingrich’s attack on Mitt Romney

Philip Klein Tweet

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What’s Next

There is another Republican debate on Monday. It could be a barn-burner as Newt Gingrich has intensified the negative campaigning, and Jon Huntsman has only lately found his voice when speaking against the nomination of Mitt Romney. 


Take care, 



Michael Brendan Dougherty  Politics Editor BusinessInsider.com [email protected]