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Sunday Study Guide: President Obama, roundtable

President Barack Obama

  • President Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States and will be sworn in for his second term in the White House January 20, 2013. He previously served Illinois in the U.S. Senate and in the Illinois State Senate.
  • The president met with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) at the White House in an attempt to reach a deal on the fiscal cliff before the end-of-year deadline. President Obama called the meeting “good and constructive.” He said he is “moderately optimistic” a deal can be reached in time but the “hour for immediate action is here” and America’s “patience is already thin.”
  • Going off the fiscal cliff may have some political advantages, according to the National Journal, but “cliff-diving also holds plenty of hazards for Obama” including damaging the economy, putting a greater emphasis on raising the debt ceiling, and becoming a distraction in the president's second term which would likely be “bogged down by negotiations.” The president’s second-term agenda could include fiscal issues such as taxes, spending, and the debt ceiling; immigration reform; and gun control.  
  • Watch his most recent appearance on Meet the Press.


Roundtable:  Meacham, Goodwin, Brooks, Brokaw, Todd  

  • Jon Meacham is executive vice president at Random House, a Time magazine contributor, and the former editor-in-chief of Newsweek. Meacham recently wrote “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power.” He said, “The most productive political periods of our history were times when people were able to get things done in that Jeffersonian way” in which leaders recognize “politics is not 100 percent business. It's maybe 60 percent business, 40 percent relationships.” Watch his most recent Meet the Press appearance and his PRESS Pass interview.
  • Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin is the author of the Lincoln biography “Team of Rivals,” which is now a major motion picture. She said the most important aspect of President Lincoln was “willingness to compromise” and now “that kind of leadership is really going to be critical to make something happen.” Watch her most recent appearance on Meet the Press and her PRESS Pass interview.
  • New York Times columnist David Brooks recently wrote that the president is not vulnerable now but will be when he is working on big projects in his second term. “The Republican strategy should be obvious. Swallow hard and accept a deal. End the showdown era. Achieve short-term fiscal stability. Don’t give away G.O.P. leverage on tax reform. Then focus on the bigger fight in 2013.” Here is his latest appearance.
  • NBC’s Tom Brokaw recently said, “I think you have to start talking about the culture of violence in America. This has been a terrible year,” but during this year’s presidential campaign “there was almost no conversation about it.” Watch his latest appearance on the show here.
  • Chuck Todd is NBC’s Political Director, Chief White House correspondent, and host of The Daily Rundown. This week on TDR he discussed who to watch for in 2013. Watch his most recent Meet the Press appearance.


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