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Obama signals he may allow rich to keep tax cuts, kill chance of climate bill

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Chastened Obama signals compromise on tax cuts, emissions controls — not on gays in military

A chastened President Barack Obama signaled a willingness to compromise with Republicans on tax cuts and energy policy Wednesday, one day after his party lost control of the House and suffered deep Senate losses in midterm elections.

Obama ruefully called the Republican victories “a shellacking.”

At a White House news conference, the president said that when Congress returns, “my goal is to make sure we don’t have a huge spike in taxes for middle class families.” He made no mention of his campaign-long insistence that tax cuts be permitted to expire on upper-income families, a position he said would avoid swelling the deficit but put him in conflict with Republicans.

He also virtually abandoned his legislation — hopelessly stalled in the Senate — featuring economic incentives to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, vehicles and other sources.

“I’m going to be looking for other means of addressing this problem,” he said. “Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat,” he said, strongly implying there will be others.

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In the campaign, Republicans slammed the bill as a “national energy tax” and jobs killer, and numerous Democrats sought to emphasize their opposition to the measure during their own re-election races.

The president opened his post-election news conference by saying voters who felt frustrated by the sluggish pace of economic recovery had dictated the Republican takeover in the House.

Asked to reflect on the returns, he said, “I feel bad,” adding that many Democrats who went down to defeat had done so knowing they risked their careers to support his agenda of economic stimulus legislation and a landmark health care bill.

The president said he was eager to sit down with the leaders of both political parties “and figure out how we can move forward together.”

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“It won’t be easy,” he said, noting the two parties differ profoundly in some key areas.

One controversial issue, the president said he saw a possibility that Congress might agree to overturn the military’s ban on openly gay service members when lawmakers return to the Capitol for a post-election session later this month.

The election was a humbling episode for the once-high-flying president, and the change showed during his news conference. Largely absent were his smiles and buoyant demeanor, replaced by somberness and an acknowledgment that his policies may have alienated some Americans.

“I think people started looking at all this, and it felt as if government was getting much more intrusive into people’s lives than they were accustomed to,” he conceded. But he wasn’t talking surrender either.

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He sought to tread a careful line, suggesting he would cooperate with Republicans where it was possible and confront them when it was not.

“No one party will be able to dictate where we go from here,” he said, a clear warning to Republicans that he won’t simply bow to their demands for a sharply conservative switch in economic policy.

With his comments, Obama largely followed the lead of Republican leaders who said earlier in the day they were willing to compromise — within limits.

With unemployment at 9.6 percent, both the president and the Republicans will be under pressure to compromise. Yet neither must lose faith with core supporters — the Republicans with the tea party activists who helped them win power, Obama with the voters whose support he will need in 2012.

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The president said the economy had begun a recovery since he took office but Americans became wary when they saw government bailouts of failing banks and two of the Big Three U.S. automakers.

Many Republicans campaigned by calling for repeal of the health care legislation Obama won from Congress, but the president said repeal was a nonstarter.

“If Republicans have some ideas” for cutting costs of health care or making other changes in the bill, he said he would be glad to take a look.

“There are going to be some examples of where we can tweak and make progress,” he said. “But I don’t think if you ask the American people, `should we stop trying to close the doughnut hole that helps seniors get prescription drugs, should we go back to where people with pre-existing conditions can’t get health insurance’ … I don’t think you’d have a strong vote from people saying, `Those are provisions I want to eliminate.'”

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Famously unemotional in public, Obama was asked whether he needs to change his leadership style, and he responded: “When you’re in this place, it is hard not to seem removed.”

He said he needs to do more “to ensure I’m getting out of here.” He also pointed out that “a couple of great communicators” — Reagan and Clinton — also stood at the podium two years into their presidencies “getting very similar questions.”

Actually, Clinton’s electoral comeuppance was worse. Republicans won both the House and Senate at his first midterm, but he recovered to win re-election two years later.

Republicans lost seats in Congress at Reagan’s first midterm election in 1982 but never had a House majority to lose, and kept control of the Senate for four more years.

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Source: AP News

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Democratic operative who tested Russian tactics in Alabama reveals that Trump continues to crush Democrats on Facebook — by a factor of 9 to 1

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The ground shifted under Democrats during the 2016 election, but many refuse to acknowledge just how, or in what direction. Some are still content to lose close elections gracefully, even when the stakes for American democracy are the highest they have ever been. Others are so bent on proving that their electoral strategy is sound that they refuse to acknowledge Mark Zuckerberg has broken the traditional models of voter persuasion.

Nevertheless, a small group of Democratic operatives is no longer afraid to get their hands dirty. I am one of them.

I never intended to become a political operative. I wasn’t even thinking about the possibility when I set out to affect the 2017 special election for the US Senate in Alabama. I wanted to push back against the social media shenanigans that had helped elect Donald Trump and gather some data on their relative effectiveness because we were debating the impact of these tactics in a total vacuum of hard evidence either way. So when a documentarian recently asked me what it felt like to be a “political operative,” I was momentarily stunned by the realization that I had accidentally carved out a new career in white hat ratf*kery.

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Fox & Friends attacks Mueller’s credibility: ‘I don’t think he knows the details of the report’

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The hosts of "Fox & Friends" questioned Robert Mueller's credibility after Congress set a date for the former special counsel to testify about his findings.

Mueller will testify July 17 to lay out evidence of alleged crimes by President Donald Trump and his campaign associates, and Fox News broadcasters suggested questions that could undercut his impartiality.

"How did it make you feel when president of the United States said that you're compromised, or how did it make you feel when the president of the United States kept attacking the process?" said co-host Brian Kilmeade. "What did you think about the rumors he was going to fire you? I'm not sure he is going to answer that either."

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How the DOJ just asked the Supreme Court to essentially become a ‘branch of the Trump administration’

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With the fate of the nation's electoral maps — and thus the very basis of democracy — hanging in the balance, the Supreme Court is poised to rule on the controversial Census case. But at the last minute, Justice Department Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote new a new plea to the justices asking them to take an even more extraordinary step than simply ruling on the issue before them.

Indeed, law professor Richard Hasen wrote in Slate on Tuesday that if the court goes along with Francisco's request, it will essentially act as a part of the Trump administration.

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