Beltway Insider: Sandy Hook Shooting Dominates; Fiscal Cliff Standoff; John Kerry Nominated as Clinton Successor

President Obama heard the nation, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shootings, and shifted the priorities of his second administration to place Gun Control at the top of his agenda.

According to Gallup, President Obama’s job approval, over the past week, jumped six percentage points, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shootings, to 56% of those polled approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness dropped seven percentages point to 36%.

Sandy Hook Elementary School Shootings

During President Obama’s visit to Newtown, Connecticut he pledged to those citizens who lives have been irreparably altered “And you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide. Whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it. Newtown, you are not alone.”  

After a week that witnessed repeated funeral processions, as the world struggled to make sense of the senseless, which culminated with a National Day of Mourning whose participation was bi-partisan and without political overtones president Obama re-organized the priorities of his second administration shifting Gun Control to the top of his agenda.

President Obama via a posted video explained that he is seeking the assistance of gun control supporters to help pass legislation that will ban assault weapons and high volume magazine clips. He has he has placed Vice-president Joseph Biden in charge of crafting a more concrete policy on gun control by next month.

Obama Nominates John Kerry as Clinton Successor

As expected President Obama nominated Massachusetts Senator John Kerry to succeed departing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after Susan Rice, the Ambassador to the United Nations withdrew her name from consideration.

John Kerry, a senior member of the senate, replaced Vice-President Joseph Biden, in 2009, as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations. Kerry, long political service began with a win in 1972 by the people of Massachusetts 5th Congressional District, after which he served as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts in 1982. In 1984 he was elected to the United States Senate serving the people of Massachusetts where he has handily won re-election five, six-year terms, elections. In 2004, he became the Democratic Party’s presidential choice to run against George W. Bush.  He and running mate, John Edwards were defeated.

Clinton, who has served in the nation’s top diplomatic position since 2008, announced her departure after the president won reelection.

Fiscal Cliff Standoff

While the Mayan Apocalypse fizzled the looming Fiscal Cliff is still very present and facing millions of Americans who are waiting while both political parties maneuver around concessions. The looming Fiscal Cliff and with it the benefits and protections hang in the balance.

With Washington officially in Holiday recess, leaders have returned to their home states.  From all reports, talks broke down this week and while both parties are “confident” a conclusion can be reached both seem to be comfortably stuck.

Meanwhile, Speaker of the House John Boehner is home in Ohio. He recorded the weekly GOP address before leaving Washington, stressing the president's role in the failure to reach an agreement on the cliff.

"What the president has offered so far simply won't do anything to solve our spending problem and begin to address our nation's crippling debt," he said in the recorded address, "The House has done its part to avert this entire fiscal cliff. ... The events of the past week make it clearer than ever that these measures reflect the will of the House."

In addition to the Unemployment Benefit protection, tax hikes of up to 98% will automatically go into effect if a compromise is not met and economists have warned that the failure to divert the protections of the Fiscal cliff could result in a new recession something all would like to avoid.

Obama’s Head to Hawaii for Holiday

President Obama and his family have officially left the wintery eastern seaboard and headed to sunny Hawaii the official presidential destination for the Obama’s holiday break. The president, while in Hawaii, will continue to monitor any developments in the looming Fiscal Cliff.

For more information on President Obama: www.whitehouse.gov

For more information on President Obama: http://www.barackobama.com/

Sources: Agencies

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