- - Wednesday, November 14, 2012

President Obama says he hasn’t yet scheduled a meeting with Republican Mitt Romney.

At a news conference Wednesday, Mr. Obama said he hopes to have the chance to talk with Mr. Romney before the end of the year.

The president, who said he thinks Mr. Romney did a terrific job with the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, doesn’t have a specific assignment in mind for his former rival, but said he does want to talk about some of the Republican’s ideas.

CONGRESS

Rep. Paul touts libertarian values in farewell speech

Ron Paul, who is leaving Congress next month after coming up short in his bid for the GOP presidential nomination earlier this year, made a plea for a more libertarian America today in his farewell speech on the floor of the U.S. House.

“I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out ‘the plain truth of things,’” the Texas Republican said. “The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people worldwide, is to pursue the cause of liberty.”

He called for a less-militaristic America on the international stage:

“A moral people must reject all violence in an effort to mold peoples’ beliefs and habits,” he said. “A society that boos or ridicules the Golden Rule is not a moral society.”

CONGRESS

FDA seeks more authority amid meningitis outbreak

The head of the Food and Drug Administration asked Congress on Wednesday for more authority to police pharmacies like the one that triggered a deadly meningitis outbreak, even as lawmakers questioned why the agency didn’t do more with its existing powers.

FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg called for new laws to clarify her agency’s authority to crack down on companies like the New England Compounding Center, which distributed contaminated pain injections that have sickened more than 460 Americans, causing 32 deaths.

Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee spent most of the first hearing on the outbreak questioning state and federal regulators about why they didn’t act sooner against the company.

A timeline assembled by the committee’s Republican staff showed that the FDA and the Massachusetts board of pharmacy investigated the pharmacy more than a dozen times in the past decade. In particular, lawmakers pointed to a 2002 FDA inspection that found contamination issues with the same steroid implicated in the latest recall.

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