• In his second term, Obama could take a tip from Jefferson

    Politics Confidential

    With his second inauguration just a few days away, Jon Meacham has some advice for President Obama: Take a lesson from your long since deceased predecessor Thomas Jefferson.

    Meacham, author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, says one of the keys to Jefferson's success was that he built personal relationships with senators and members of Congress. He says Obama "has not been particularly good at this."

    Every night Congress was in session, Jefferson would invite members to the White House for dinner and managed to forge friendships with even some of his staunchest critics.

    "He wanted to weave attachments," says Meacham. "There's a wonderful story about a New England Senator from New Hampshire, a federalist, who came in 1803 two years into Jefferson's term believing Jefferson to be evil incarnate. And he came to dinner so much that by the end of the term they're exchanging pecan recipes."

    In gaining personal friendships within Congress, Meacham says Jefferson

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  • Congressman, survivor of Tucson shooting, says Gabby Giffords will personally lobby members of Congress on gun legislation

    Top Line

    Congressman Ron Barber, D-Ariz., a survivor of the Tucson shooting that severely injured former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, says Giffords plans to personally lobby her former colleagues on gun legislation as it makes its way through Congress.

    Giffords and her husband Commander Mark Kelly "will be making visits to members of Congress and will be trying to -- in a one-on-one relationship and meeting -- lay out their case,” says Barber, Giffords' former aide and successor. Barber was shot twice in the shooting that injured Giffords. “Their effort, I think, to keep this issue alive in the public arena is very important, and I know that is a large part of what they want to do.”

    On Tuesday, Barber introduced a bill calling for expanded mental health services. He is optimistic that other gun control measures can get bipartisan support, including stricter background checks and limiting access to high capacity magazines.

    "This is a very personal issue with me," says

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  • Top Line

    It's been a tumultuous New Year for Speaker of the House John Boehner, and Chris Chocola hasn't been making it any easier. As president of the conservative group Club for Growth, Chocola works to elect anti-establishment Republicans to Congress, such as freshman Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who recently voted against Hurricane Sandy aid because it would raise the national debt.

    Chocola, a former congressman from Indiana, says it is his job to make things difficult for the country's policy makers at a time when the country is $16 trillion in debt.

    "Dysfunction is not new in Washington," Chocola told Top Line. "So if people like Tom Cotton and others can show up and make life uncomfortable for the folks that have put us in that position, then we think we're doing our job."

    The Club for Growth, which supports lower taxes and limited government, opposed to the recent fiscal cliff deal. And as Congress quickly approaches another deadline to raise the debt ceiling, Chocola says its

    Read More »from Club for Growth president: Government shutdown may be better than alternative

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