OBAMA AGENDA: Terror attack in Paris
Breaking this morning: NBCNews.com: "Eleven people were killed in a terror attack Wednesday at a French satirical news magazine which has published cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. France raised its national alert system to its highest level following the attack at Charlie Hebdo in central Paris."
On Morning Joe, White House spokesman Josh Earnest condemned the attack and called it "a terrible act of violence."
In an exclusive interview with the Detroit News, Obama warned that cheap gas prices won't last forever. "I would strongly advise American consumers to continue to think about how you save money at the pump because it is good for the environment, it’s good for family pocketbooks and if you go back to old habits and suddenly gas is back at $3.50, you are going to not be real happy."
In a blog post by Dan Pfieffer, the White House previews his State of the Union address and the coming "SOTU spoilers,” including “a new executive action that will help more responsible Americans own a home,” “a new manufacturing innovation hub” and college affordability initiatives.
Obama also said he'd be "pretty aggravated" if he was a Detroit Lions fan after Sunday night's controversial penalty call.
The conservative group Concerned Veterans for America is calling on Obama to visit the scandal-plagued Phoenix VA hospital when he travels to Arizona tomorrow.
From the Wall Street Journal: “American oil and gas companies have gone heavily into debt during the energy boom, increasing their borrowings by 55% since 2010, to almost $200 billion. Their need to service that debt helps explain why U.S. producers plan to continue pumping oil even as crude trades for less than $50 a barrel, down 55% since last June."
Making headlines yesterday: The White House says it will veto legislation authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
CONGRESS: Back to work -- and confrontation
From NBC's Leigh Ann Caldwell: "Behind the pomp, circumstance and giddiness of the first day of the new session, the tone for the next two years was already being set. The White House started the ball rolling Tuesday with a threat to veto the XL Keystone pipeline bill, the first piece of legislation Republicans plan to send his way. And Republicans, jubilant after a midterm election victory, are now facing the difficult realities of governing."
From our Hill team: "Rep. John Boehner has been re-elected as Speaker of the House, even as 25 members of own party declined to support him. Twenty-four Republicans voted for individuals other than Boehner, while one voted "present." The share of conservative defectors, although unprecedented in modern history, was not enough to force Boehner's nomination to a second ballot. (A second ballot has not occurred since 1923.) But Boehner's foes hoped to muster enough opposition to embarrass the Ohio Republican, who they say has been too moderate."
After being elected House Speaker for a third term, John Boehner's office is out with a new biographical video that features interviews with some of his closest friends and family. The video is called "The Biggest Long Shot" -- and even features a photo of Boehner sporting a mustache.
The big payback, via Roll Call: "After Daniel Webster and Rich Nugent bucked leadership and voted for a speaker whose last name was not “Boehner,” House leaders stripped the two Florida congressmen of their positions on the Rules Committee."
Boehner challenger Louie Gohmert says "it was never about me."
OFF TO THE RACES: Jeb’s rapid moves
From the Washington Post: "Jeb Bush’s rapid moves to jump-start fundraising and organizing for a possible 2016 presidential run are accelerating the timelines of other prospective GOP candidates and creating tumult within the still-forming field." MORE: “Bush’s aggressive entrance in the race has sped up the timing of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is preparing to make a public move toward running at the end of this month rather than waiting until February or March, according to a person familiar with discussions.”
Also from the Post: Bush's "foundation has forged an unusual role mixing politics and policy — drafting legislation and paying travel expenses for state officials, lobbying lawmakers, and connecting public officials with industry executives seeking government contracts."
From the New York Times: "Jeb Bush on Tuesday delivered a powerful message about two of the most vital ingredients in a presidential campaign, money and ideas, transforming himself from a figure who once seemed paralyzed by ambivalence over a White House run into the most forceful presence within the emerging Republican field."
Writes POLITICO: "Robby Mook, who worked on Clinton’s 2008 campaign and is widely expected to be Clinton’s campaign manager, and Joel Benenson, Obama’s pollster who had for months been eyed for a role on her team, have been working with her as she makes a final decision and begins to put together a framework for a staff, according to people close to the former Secretary of State."
The plot thickens, from NJ.com: “During the 15 months that the Port Authority mulled awarding a lucrative hospitality contract to a company part-owned by the Dallas Cowboys, Gov. Chris Christie never solicited input from an advisory ethics panel specifically created to help governors avoid conflicts of interest, according to a former panel member and current Port Authority chairman, John Degnan.”
Rick Perry is headed to New Hampshire, reports NH1's Paul Steinhauser: "The longtime Texas governor, who's seriously considering a bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, will spend Feb. 11 and 12 in the Granite State. A source close to Perry tells NH1 News that the itinerary for the trip is still being organized but to expect stops with Republican activists and organizations as well as meetings with the state's businesses leaders."
The Philly Inquirer: “Former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum met with top state Republicans and supporters in Harrisburg Tuesday to discuss a possible 2016 campaign for the White House, the latest sign that he wants another shot after finishing second to GOP nominee Mitt Romney three years ago.”
The Des Moines Register's lede for Bobby Jindal's visit to woo Iowa faith leaders: "Some Iowa religious conservative leaders said Tuesday night that they'd never thought of Bobby Jindal as a faith-driven politician — the Louisiana governor is better known as an Ivy League-educated, policy-driven idea generator, they said."
CALIFORNIA: From the LA Times: "On a vacant lot in a depressed industrial area of Fresno, Gov. Jerry Brown and other California leaders on Tuesday marked the beginning of construction of the nation's first bullet train and one of its most ambitious public works projects ever. Conceived in Brown's first terms as governor a generation ago, the $68-billion line that is supposed to connect the state's major population centers has finally reached a stage where heavy construction equipment and thousands of workers are ready to begin raising bridges, building underpasses and preparing miles of track bed."
FLORIDA: "After a year of arguing in court that the state is not required to turn over public records generated on private accounts, Gov. Rick Scott has decided to turn a new leaf as he transitions into a second term,” reports the Miami Herald. “Beginning Tuesday, the day the governor was sworn into office after being re-elected, his office will require former employees who use their private email accounts or private cellphones for public business to turn over the records when they leave, Scott’s office announced in an email."
SOUTH CAROLINA: The State: "Lt. Gov.-elect Henry McMaster, a former state attorney general who helped author an ethics reform report for Gov. Nikki Haley, is facing allegations that his 2010 gubernatorial campaign accepted $72,700 in improper contributions from 51 donors."
VIRGINIA: Former Gov. Bob McDonnell was sentenced to two years in prison. Full coverage from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The relatively lenient two-year sentence could be a "cap" on the punishment for McDonnell's wife, Maureen, who will be sentenced next month.
The Washington Post editorial board: "The public’s cynicism about politics and politicians did not begin with Mr. McDonnell. But when someone with his talents and attributes — and with his breadth of experience as a lawyer, prosecutor and attorney general — exercises such poor judgment in public office, there can be no excuse."
*** Wednesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Extensive coverage of the terror attack in Paris, including Fmr. CIA counterrorism analyst Aki Peritz, International Affairs Correspondent and Fmr. Senior British Officer Mikey Kay, MSNBC analyst Jim Cavanaugh, and Fawaz Gerges, Chair of Comtemporary Middle Eastern Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science.