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* House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Friday that negotiations with Democrats to avert the “fiscal cliff” have reached a “stalemate." “Right now, we’re almost nowhere," Boehner said. President Obama, meanwhile, was in Pennsylvania, where he pressed Republicans to freeze taxes for the middle class while allowing tax rates on the wealthy to to go up. “It’s not acceptable to me, and I don’t think it’s acceptable to you, for just a handful of Republicans in Congress to hold middle-class tax cuts hostage simply because they don’t want tax rates on upper-income folks to go up,” Obama said.

* Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.) won't be running for the Senate or governor in 2014. “I am not running for Senate and I am not running for governor in 2014,” he said in an interview. Sen. Mark Pryor (D) is expected to be vulnerable to a Republican challenge in two years. 

* It turns out conservative blogger Erick Erickson won't be challenging Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), after all. "Were I to run for the Senate, it would be a terribly nasty campaign,” Erickson wrote on “I’m not putting my family through that when the best outcome would mean a sizable pay cut and being away from my kids and wife all the time huddled in a pit of vipers often surrounded by too many who viewed me as a useful instrument to their own advancement.”

* Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) won't be running against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2014. "I'm very happy with my district and very happy in the House. I think there will be stronger candidates statewide than I would be," Yarmuth said in an interview. 

* The Supreme Court announced no decision Friday about whether it would hear unrelated  cases involving the California ballot initiative defining marriage as between a man and a woman, and the the Defense of Marriage Act. The high court could announce a decision on Monday. 


* Here's Rep. Charles Rangel's (D-N.Y.) assessment of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani (R), now-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the 2000 New York Senate race: "He looked at her and got prostate cancer and quit. Giuliani just left the fight and the struggle. But quite frankly, I think Hillary Clinton was a helluva good reason to withdraw his candidacy." Giuliani was diagnosed with cancer in the runup to that campaign and ended his bid. As for a possible Clinton 2016 presidential run, Rangel had this to say: "I don't see how an individual, male or female, could be better qualified for that particular office." He added: "If her nation required a draft, she would answer."

* After facing some criticism for not appointing any women to head any committees so far, Boehner announced Friday that Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) will chair the House Administration Committee. House Democrats are expected to have five women as ranking members on committees. 

* New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is a very popular man in the Garden State right now -- so popular that even Bruce Springsteen trails the governor by 36 points in a hypothetical matchup, according to Democratic automated pollster Public Policy Polling.  

* Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) plans to hold press conferences on Saturday to announce the support of top federal and state Republican officials, a move that looks as if it is designed to head off a primary challenge in 2014. 


Nintendo history remix! 

With Aaron Blake