Make sure to sign up to receive “Afternoon Fix” every day in your e-mail inbox by 5(ish) p.m.!


Gillibrand emerges as key figure in Hagel hearings (our updated whip list)

Can John Kasich survive in Ohio?

In defense of political reporting

John McCain and Chuck Hagel were once BFFs. What happened?

In search of the 10 most interesting states in politics

Richard Ben Cramer, RIP

Why Cory Booker could run into roadblocks in New Jersey

Stephen Colbert on the ‘fiscal cliff’ deal’s impact on Kanye West and Kim Kardashian (VIDEO)

What the fiscal cliff deal cost John Boehner (and what he gained)


* Former Arizona Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, launched Americans for Responsible Solutions, which they say is meant to “balance the influence of the gun lobby, and will line up squarely behind leaders who will stand up for what’s right.” The announcement came on the second anniversary of the attempted assassination of Giffords in a Tucson, Ariz., mass shooting. Meanwhile, the mother of the attack's youngest victim appears in a new ad from Mayors Against Illegal Guns demanding lawmakers “stand up to the gun lobby.”

* Vice President Biden will meet this week with the National Rifle Association. The vice president is heading up an Obama Administration task force that is set to deliver recommendations on curbing gun violence later this month. Biden also will hold discussions with victims of gun violence and executives from the entertainment and video game industries. NRA officials recently advocated putting armed guards in schools to deter acts of mass violence there, but offered no new gun control proposals.

* New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) continues to fly high in the opinion of New Jersey voters, a new Fairleigh Dickinson University Public Mind poll shows. Christie is sporting a 73 percent approval rating, and he leads a trio of Democrats by at least 33 points each in head-to-head matchups. The governor devoted nearly his entire “State of the State” address on Tuesday to Hurricane Sandy, calling on lawmakers to deliver in federal aid. State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D), a potential Christie opponent, apologized Monday after he said the governor “prayed” for the storm to help paper over the state’s economic problems.

* Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is likely to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Jan. 22, said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the committee's ranking Republican. Clinton will address a deadly Sept. 11 attack on a diplomatic outpost in Libya.


* Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel (D) said Tuesday “there is no other shoe to drop" with regard to an extramarital affair he had with an attorney that recently surfaced. McDaniel, the only declared Democratic gubernatorial candidate, said he intends to remain in the race.

* Nearly eight-in-ten Americans (77 percent) said they think the way politics works in Washington these days is causing serious harm to the country, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted in mid-December, when the debate over the "fiscal cliff" had yet to be resolved.

* The moderate Republican Main Street Partnership is removing “Republican” from its name, and will be called ”The Main Street Partnership." The group, which is headed by former Ohio GOP congressman Steve LaTourette, will now welcome centrist Democrats.

* Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) sent out an email to Sarah Palin's PAC email list thanking the former Alaska governor for endorsing him. "While federal law prohibited any coordination between SarahPAC and my campaign, none of this success would have been possible without the outpouring of financial support, hard work, and word of mouth from conservative fighters like you. The Governor's support and your constant encouragement played a critical part in our triumph," wrote Cruz. Palin backed Cruz against Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the 2012 Texas GOP primary.

* The National Republican Congressional Committee has promoted Andrea Bozek to communications director for the 2014 cycle. Bozek was the committee's deputy communications director in 2012. Daniel Scarpinato, a regional spokesperson, will be the national press secretary.


Baby talk.

With Aaron Blake