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Friday, Jan 30th

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Early GOP slipups dog new congressional majority

BoehnerHouse Speaker John Boehner candidly summed up the other day how the first month of the Republican-controlled 114th Congress has gone.

“Yes, there have been a couple of stumbles,” Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters. When Republicans assumed the gavel in both chambers of Congress for the first time in eight years as a result of their election victories in November, they came in with a game plan:

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Mitt Romney not running a third time

RomneyMitt Romney will not run for president a third time, he said Friday on a conference call with donors, a surprise announcement that caps three weeks of fevered exploration.

“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I have decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” the former Massachusetts governor, reading from a script, said during a five-minute call.

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The Strange Firing Of One Of The Country’s Most Inflammatory Anti-LGBT Spokespeople

Brian FscherOne of the most vocal opponents of LGBT equality, Bryan Fischer, is apparently no longer a spokesman, nor the “Director of Issues Analysis,” for the American Family Association (AFA), an anti-LGBT hate group.

Despite being related to comments Fischer has been making on his radio show for years, the firing seems to serve the purpose of providing political cover to some 60 members of the Republican National Committee who will enjoy an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel on AFA’s bill, as first reported by Rachel Maddow Wednesday night.

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GOP Presses State Bills Limiting Gay Rights Before Supreme Court Ruling

gay rightsA Texas lawmaker would strip the salaries from government officials who honor same-sex marriage licenses.  Other states would protect government officials who opt out of performing gay nuptials.

In Georgia, where lawmakers are considering a bill that critics fear could allow businesses to discriminate against gay customers, the former head of the country's largest Protestant denomination recently urged lawmakers to reign in "erotic liberty."

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How Kerry foiled Boehner's Israel Stunt

Boehner's israel stunt House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) appeared to have pulled off a masterful political victory against the Obama administration Wednesday when he revealed that he had invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress on the dangers of the administration's negotiations with Iran.

Coming a day after President Barack Obama threatened to veto new Iran-related sanctions legislation that he said could harm the negotiations, Boehner's move looked like a smart way to reinforce support for such bills -- a priority for the Republican-led Congress -- by showing that the U.S.'s top ally in the region supported them.

Then things started to fall apart.

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Obama to pass on meeting Netanyahu during Washington visit

Obama will not meet with NetanyahuIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's planned trip to Washington in March is kicking up a diplomatic dust storm in the nation's capital.

On Thursday, the White House said President Barack Obama would not meet the prime minister when he comes to the U.S. to address a joint session of Congress. The official White House explanation was that Netanyahu's visit fell too close to the Israeli election and the Obama administration wanted to avoid the appearance of taking sides.

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Obama in State of the Union: Tax wealthy, help middle class

SOTU speechRefusing to bend to the new Republican Congress, President Barack Obama unveiled Tuesday night an ambitious State of the Union agenda steeped in Democratic priorities, including tax increases on the wealthy, education and child care help for the middle class and a torrent of veto threats for the GOP’s own plans.

In a shift from tradition, Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress was less a laundry list of new proposals and more an attempt to sell a story of a national economy emerging from the “shadow of crisis.” He appealed for “better politics” in Washington and pledged to work with Republicans, but he showed few signs of curtailing or tweaking his own plans to meet GOP priorities.

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