Graham urges GOP to ‘be quiet’ and see if Democrats budge on entitlements

December 10, 2012

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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: 

* President Obama waded into the battle over a controversial right-to-work measure during a trip to Michigan on Monday, saying the GOP-backed legislation was akin to “taking away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions.” The bill could become law as early as Tuesday. Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has said he will sign it, a reversal from his previous position, which was that such a measure was too divisive. Obama was in Michigan to deliver a speech aimed at drumming up support for his plan to avert the "fiscal cliff." 

* South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) said Monday that she will not appoint a “placeholder” to fill GOP Sen. Jim DeMint's seat when he resigns in January. "Many have discussed the possibility of a ‘placeholder’ appointee who would pledge to serve for only two years and not seek election to the seat in 2014,” Haley said. “While there are some good arguments in favor of that approach, I believe the better case is against it.” The announcement ramps up speculation that Haley will tap Rep. Tim Scott (R) to succeed DeMint. 

* Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) says he plans to join the Senate Foreign Relations Committee next year, a move that potentially puts the Republican on a collision course with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. The committee will vet the next secretary of state, a position for which Rice is believed to be a top choice of Obama's. McCain has been an outspoken critic of the Rice's initial reaction to the Sept. 11 attacks in Libya that claimed the lives of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. The senator will not challenge Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) for the position of ranking Republican on Foreign Relations. 

* The Republican National Committee launched its effort to look at what went wrong for the party in the 2012 election. The committee tapped several veteran operatives to serve as project co-chairs, including former White House speechwriter Ari Fleischer and Florida strategist Sally Bradshaw. RNC members members Henry Barbour of Mississippi, Zori Fonalledas of Puerto Rico and Glenn McCall of South Carolina will also serve as co-chairs. 

WHAT YOU SHOULDN'T MISS: 

* Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) wouldn't rule out a 2014 gubernatorial run at The Pennsylvania Society Dinner this past weekend. Sources close to the Casey campaign say he simply refuses to say ‘no’ at such an early date. If he ran, he'd likely clear the Democratic field. against Gov. Tom Corbett (R). Casey was reelected to a second Senate term in November. 

* Two conservative Democratic state senators in Washington will join with Republicans to form a “majority coalition caucus," an arrangement they say will split power between the two parties. Before the arrangement, Democrats had held 26 of 40 seats in the Senate, but the new arrangement takes their majority away. 

* Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) urged Republicans to "be quiet for a while" and see if Democrats are willing to make concessions on the issue of entitlement reform, something the senator has said must happen for him to agree to revenue increases in the "fiscal cliff" negations  “I’d put revenue on the table only if they do entitlement reform. Here’s what I don’t hear: I don’t hear any Democrat of note saying, ‘Here’s what I would do on the entitlement side. So if I were Republicans, I would be quiet for a while and see what the Democrats put on the table for entitlement reform," Graham said.

* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) thinks outgoing Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) has "hair like a 15-year-old." 

THE FIX MIX: 

That sounds really, really real. 

With Aaron Blake 

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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Sean Sullivan · December 10, 2012