• Bottom Line

    The election is over but the fiscal cliff is coming fast — more than $500 billion of tax increases and spending cuts hit January 1st if Congress and the President fail to reach a deficit reduction deal.

    In advance of the first face to face meeting between the President and Congressional leaders tomorrow, many of you had questions about the "cliff" and chances of reaching a deal..

    Marilyn Ritchie Scourtis Lawhon asked via Facebook "How many Republicans are still honoring Grover Norquist's pledge? How can they work on a compromise under those circumstances?"

    That pledge, of course, is an iron clad promise not to raise any taxes. Here's my answer to Marilyn:

  • Paul Ryan: On losing and moving on

    Spinners and Winners

    In his first national television interview since the 2012 election, Congressman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., better known as the vice presidential nominee, says losing came as something of a surprise.

    "We thought we had a very good chance of winning. You know, the polling and the data and all the people who are the smart people who watch this stuff -- they had a pretty optimistic view on the night," says Ryan. "So as you can imagine, it was a bit of a shock when we didn't win."

    But as soon as the final numbers on Virginia and Ohio began coming in, says Ryan, "we knew."

    In an interview earlier this week in Wisconsin, the congressman said one reason Obama won was because his campaign drove up turnout in urban areas.

    "I'll let the pundits decide exactly how he won," says Ryan. "The point is, he got more votes than we did. That's how he won."

    The voter turnout for Obama went beyond urban areas, the president also won non-urban areas in New Hampshire and Iowa.

    "The president

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  • Why a status quo election will bring change

    Top Line

    The 2012 election came and went, leaving Washington virtually unchanged. Nearly all the same leadership, the same personalities, and the same old issues that lead to such awful gridlock the last two years will be returning to the Capitol.

    But there are real signs that things are changing around here. The "fiscal cliff" is actually doing its job, which is to create a moment so terrible that both sides have to come together and do something to avoid it. The so-called "cliff" comes on Jan. 1, when several tax cuts expire, and severe cuts to government spending are automatically triggered. We are already seeing a more conciliatory tone from both Democrats and Republicans, a willingness to compromise because both sides realize the alternative would truly be bad for the country.

    Candidates campaigned on these issues in the fall, some promising voters they would prevent the defense cuts and tax increases that would happen if the country falls over that fiscal cliff. But President

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