Obama public relations effort aims to avoid ‘fiscal cliff:’ “The White House signaled Tuesday that it will try to marshal the momentum from President Obama’s reelection triumph into another victory at the negotiating table, launching a full-fledged public relations effort to avoid a “fiscal cliff” that could jolt the nation back toward recession. Administration officials said Obama will hit the road this week for a campaign-style series of events with ordinary Americans, including a visit to a toy manufacturer in suburban Philadelphia on Friday. That trip and others will be aimed at increasing pressure on Congress to reach an agreement on heading off a series of automatic spending cuts and tax increases that are scheduled to begin in January.” (Washington Post)

OLIVIER DOULIERY / POOL/EPA – President Barack Obama speaks at a bipartisan group of congressional leaders as Speaker of the House John Boehner looks on in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, on November 16, 2012.

Fiscal cliff: “How many times have we heard that the only thing standing in the way of a grand bargain to reduce our growing national debt is Republican intransigence on taxes? If Republicans would only agree to dump Grover Norquist, Democrats will agree to cut spending and reform entitlements. Then, we can all join hands and sing Kumbaya as we usher in a new era of compromise and fiscal responsibility. Except that now that Republicans have agreed to raise taxes, er, revenue, as part of an agreement to avoid the looming fiscal cliff, liberals appear to have decided that there really isn’t a need to cut spending after all,” writes Cato’s Michael Tanner. (National Review)

CFR’s Peter Orszag: Vague plans to limit tax breaks will soon die. (Bloomberg)

GOP congressman: House Republicans should join hands with Obama on tax bill. (ThinkProgress)

After meeting with Susan Rice, Republican senators say they aren’t reassured: “What was supposed to be a make-nice meeting on Tuesday seemed only to make things more contentious between the White House and Senate Republicans over U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s comments following the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. Rice came face to face with some of her harshest Republican critics, hoping to allay their concerns about whether she misled Americans regarding what precipitated the assault. President Obama has staunchly defended Rice and is said to be considering her for his next secretary of state, but the meeting apparently only served to deepen GOP skepticism.” (Washington Post

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Politico’s Arena asks: Susan Rice called on three Senate Republicans yesterday in a closed-door meeting, aiming to smooth over the ongoing dispute over the attack on Americans in Benghazi – a dispute that could potentially block her nomination for secretary of state. Although Rice has agreed she made errors in the information she shared about the attack on Sunday morning shows, the senators say they are more concerned than ever. Now that Rice has agreed she made errors, do the senators have a right to be increasingly concerned? Or is the situation becoming overblown?

Don’t let scandal obscure Petraeus’ achievements: “In the weeks since he was obliged to resign as CIA director, David Petraeus has come under inevitable scrutiny and criticism, with a new historiography instantly emerging not only about the mistakes he made in his personal life but about his supposedly flawed generalship in recent conflicts. Given how polarizing the Iraq War experience has been in American politics, and how long and frustrating the Afghanistan saga has become, some of this is inevitable. But a good deal of it is unfortunate and unfair,” writes Brookings’ Michael O’Hanlon. (Politico)

AEI’s Jonah Goldberg: Egypt’s ‘moderate’ despot. (National Review)

CFR’s Elliott Abrams: Obama abandons Arab moderates. (National Review)

Manhattan Institute’s Diana Furchtgott-Roth: The real reason unions are targeting Wal-Mart. (Washington Examiner)

AEI’s John Bolton: Iran sitting prettier. (New York Post)

Room for Debate asks: In this most generous season of the year, Americans consider donations to nonprofit groups. But as budget negotiators in Washington consider major cuts in various programs, can charity efficiently and fairly take the place of government in important areas? Or does the power of wealthy patrons let them set funding priorities in the face of government cutbacks? (New York Times)