- - Sunday, December 9, 2012

If President Obama wants to get anything done in his second term in the White House, he needs to cut a deal with House Speaker John A. Boehner on the “fiscal cliff,” Rep. Tom Cole said Sunday.

“I actually think this is a speaker at the peak of his power. The president’s going to have to deal with him,” Mr. Cole, Oklahoma Republican, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And it’s not just about this period of time — it’s about the next four years. They both need one another to succeed, but honestly, the president needs John Boehner more than John Boehner needs the president.”

Mr. Cole, an ally of the speaker who has urged hard-line Republicans in the House to accept a fiscal-cliff deal that would save most of the expiring George W. Bush-era tax cuts, said it’s time to take action.

“Tax rates are going up anyway. We’re not ‘raising’ them; that’s current law,” he said.

Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill are gridlocked over negotiations to avoid the fiscal cliff, a package of across-the-board spending cuts and tax increases set to take effect in January if lawmakers can’t make a deal on a long-term budget.


Controversial rapper Psy appears at holiday show

A holiday concert attended Sunday by President Obama and his family included a performance by suddenly controversial South Korean rapper and Internet sensation Psy.

Psy — wearing an all-red outfit including a sequined top — was backed by dancers wearing reindeer antlers as he performed his popular “Gangnam Style” dance, which mimics riding a horse.

The rapper, born Park Jae-sang, had apologized Friday for using what he called “inflammatory and inappropriate language” during anti-U.S. protests at concerts in 2002 and 2004.

Other performers at the charity concert included Diana Ross, Demi Lovato, “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery and Megan Hilty, star of the NBC musical drama “Smash.”

In brief remarks, Mr. Obama said the celebration was “a chance to get in the Christmas spirit, spread some joy and sing along with artists who have much better voices than we do.”


Land under headquarters could prove lucrative to sell

Just six blocks from the White House, the FBI’s hulking headquarters overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue has long been the government building everyone loves to hate.

The verdict is that it’s an ugly, crumbling concrete behemoth, an architectural mishap.

But in this time of tight budgets, massive deficits and the “fiscal cliff,” the 38-year-old building has one big thing in its favor.

It sits atop very valuable real estate, an entire city block midway between the Capitol and the White House.

The agency that oversees all federal buildings has issued an invitation to developers: How would you like to build a new headquarters for the FBI in a different location? In exchange, we’ll consider throwing in the J. Edgar Hoover Building and the underlying land as part of the transaction.


Bachmann re-election run eased other campaign debt

ST. PAUL — Rep. Michele Bachmann has dramatically reduced what had been a more than $1 million debt from her failed presidential run and she has her congressional re-election effort to thank for it.

New campaign finance reports released Thursday show the Minnesota Republican repaid more than $750,000 in presidential campaign debt by transferring it from her congressional account. More than $500,000 of that was shipped over between late October and late November.

Mrs. Bachmann is one of the most prolific fundraisers in Congress. She narrowly won a fourth term in November over Democrat Jim Graves.

The congressional run was her second 2012 campaign. She waged a brief run for the GOP presidential nomination but dropped out after a poor showing in Iowa’s leadoff caucuses.

Her debt now stands at about $170,000.


Lugar creates internship program out of capital

INDIANAPOLIS — U.S. Sen. Richard G. Lugar will continue wielding influence in Washington after he leaves office, albeit with a much younger audience.

Mr. Lugar is starting an internship program with the University of Indianapolis that will operate out of Washington. He also has agreed to deliver a handful of lectures each year as a distinguished professor at the private university.

The 80-year-old Republican said Friday that the Richard G. Lugar Academy will focus on many of the issues he has addressed in his Senate career, including weapons proliferation and food shortages.

He will split his time between Washington and Indianapolis in the new job.

Mr. Lugar lost a grueling primary battle in May to tea party-backed state treasurer Richard Mourdock, who then lost in the general election.

Since then, Mr. Lugar has traveled overseas talking about his nuclear disarmament program.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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