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Obama ‘modestly optimistic’ deal can be reached to avert ‘fiscal cliff’

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Beware of ‘fiscal cliff’ pessimism


* After meeting Democratic and Republican congressional leaders at the White House on Friday, President Obama said he was "modestly optimistic" that a deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" could be reached, adding, “the hour for immediate action is here. It is now." Senate leaders said they will work through the weekend and bring senators back into session Sunday in hopes of approving an agreement. “I’m hopeful and optimistic,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.). Obama said that if congressional leaders cannot come to an agreement, he plans to demand that they permit an “up-or-down vote” on his proposal.

* A spokesman for former president George H.W. Bush says his condition is improving, to the point that the former president is singing. Bush remains in intensive care at a Houston hospital, where he's been battling a fever. 

* Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's Senate campaign manager Kenneth “Buddy” Barfield is accused of stealing at least $600,000, and possibly more than a $1 million, from Dewhurst's campaign accounts during the past few years. 

* Rep.-elect Chris Stewart (R-Utah) says he is open to some gun control measures and opposes putting armed guards in schools. Stewart was endorsed by and received $1,000 from the National Rifle Association in 2012. The NRA recently argued that placing armed guards in schools could prevent future instances of mass violence like the one in Newtown, Conn. 


* Obama will make his 11th appearance on NBC's "Meet The Press" this Sunday, and his second as president. 

* A spokesman for Sen. Michael Crapo (R-Idaho) says Crapo won’t fight drunken driving charges when he appears in court in January. Crapo was charged with driving under the influence on Sunday in Alexandria, Va.

* Illinois state Sen. Donne Trotter (D) has told officials that he will end his 2nd District special election bid, sources say. The decision comes weeks after a Dec. 5 arrest for trying to board an airplane with an unloaded gun and loaded magazine in his garment bag. Trotter said he forgot about putting the gun in his bag after working a security job the previous night. 

* Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is making a year-end fundraising push to retire her campaign debt. Warren had just over $400,000 in outstanding debt in late November, according to her campaign finance report. 

* An anti-abortion protester interrupted the Senate's proceedings Friday. 


All you need to know about 2012.

With Aaron Blake

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.



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