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December 5th, 2012
11:00 AM ET

Cutter says: 'There's plenty of time for compromise' on the fiscal cliff

With 27 days left before the fiscal cliff, talks of a deal in Washington are still at an impasse. President Obama told Republicans that he will not accept a proposal on the fiscal cliff if it does not include raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, rejecting House Speaker Boehner's deficit reduction plan on that basis.

This morning on "Starting Point", Stephanie Cutter, former Deputy Campaign Manager for the Obama 2012 campaign, stresses it is clear that compromise is possible, but Republicans need to come together. Cutter says, "We still have time to put a deal together. The President has a detailed proposal on the table. Republicans need to decide where they want to move. John Boehner needs to decide how he's going to get his own caucus together. They're becoming increasing isolated in their position."

Cutter adds that "there's...plenty of time for compromise. The President's position is clear. We're not going to do anything that hurts the middle class."

Filed under: Barack Obama • Congress • Debt • Fiscal cliff • John Boehner • Politics • President Barack Obama • Tax cuts • Taxes
November 7th, 2012
08:10 AM ET

Former House Speaker Gingrich: ‘I was wrong’ on presidential election predictions

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House (R-GA), joins CNN this morning to discuss the defeat of the Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the race to the White House.

“I was wrong,” Gingrich admits. “We [Republican analysts] all thought we understood the historical pattern with this level of unemployment, with this level of gasoline prices, what would happen. First of all, the president [had] a very, very effective campaign; second, the president was looking at a very different set of things than what we were looking at. And I think Republicans need to take a very serious look at what happened and why did it happen and why were we not more competitive at the presidential level.”

Gingrich adds that despite his victory, going forward President Obama will need to work with House Republicans in his second term.

“John Boehner and the House Republicans do control the House of Representatives, which is first in the Constitution... The question for the President’s going to be, is he going to really sit down and listen? Does he really want to try to work together?” Gingrich says. “And that’s also true for the House Republicans."

“Under our constitutional system, to get it to work, there will have to be an immense mutual effort by both parties,” Gingrich adds.

Filed under: 2012 Race • Barack Obama • Mitt Romney
October 17th, 2012
11:12 AM ET

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D-MD): Obama 'dominated' second presidential debate

President Barack Obama came out swinging in the second presidential debate, but some have questioned whether he successfully outlined an economic plan for the next four years. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley joins “Starting Point” to answer those questions and discuss Obama’s performance in the debate.

O'Malley says Obama "dominated the debate," explaining how the president was able to draw "sharp and clear contrasts between policies that are causing us to recovery jobs versus the policies of the past that Governor Romney wants to take us back to that caused the job losses in the first place."

“As I look at it, we’ve had 31 months in a row of positive, private sector job growth. Our plan for the future is to continue to grow jobs,” the Maryland governor explains. “In fact, even some of the forecasts say there will be more jobs created in the next four years if we continue on this better path than if we go to the failed policies of the past.”

O’Malley also highlighted the importance of “moving forward with a balanced approach,” citing investing in infrastructure and clean energy as well as the ability to increase the number of stem graduates as ways to boost the economy.

Filed under: 2012 Race • Barack Obama • Presidential Debates
October 17th, 2012
11:09 AM ET

Does body language tell all? Facial expression expert analyzes Obama, Romney in second presidential debate

On “Starting Point,” facial coding expert Dan Hill takes a closer look at the body language and expressions of the candidates and their wives in the second debate.

Hill argues that non-verbal cues may indicate how candidates feel and play a significant role in how viewers assess their performance in the debate. “25% of the brain is devoted to processing visuals. That's going on all the time. It's really decisive because it feeds into your emotional response,” Hill explains.

The facial coding expert also argues that Obama’s expressions were noticeably different in the second debate compared to the first. “Last time, he showed a lot of sadness and a lot of resignation. Sadness as an emotion means I kind of have resigned and given up. This time he was fighting for his issues. He was emoting strongly,” Hill explains.

Hill adds that the success of each candidate last night was further reflected in their wives’ faces after the debate. “I knew right away who lost this debate before it got to the poll. Ann Romney right after the debate showed embitterment,” Hill says. “[Her] mouth is pulled tight and you have upward thrust from the jaw area. The mouth goes down a little bit. That is anger and disgust and it was in the eyes and in the mouth and it was in the lips.”

Filed under: 2012 Race • Barack Obama • Mitt Romney • Presidential Debates
September 19th, 2012
11:05 AM ET

Gov. Bob McDonnell: Romney's recorded remarks don't need 'any reframing'

The Romney campaign is on the defensive following the release of secretly recorded remarks about “the 47 percent” made by the Republican nominee at a private fundraiser. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA), chief of the Republican Governors Association and surrogate of the campaign, defends Mitt Romney on Starting Point.

“I don't think there's any reframing to do," the Virginia governor argues. "This is what Governor Romney's been talking about for six months in making his case that the Obama record of eight percent unemployment for 43 months and a debt of $16 trillion is just unacceptable, that he can do better.”

McDonnell criticizes the Obama campaign, stating that Romney offers a more specific plan than the president. “[Romney's] laid out, I think, a very clear five-point plan for the middle class with increased trade, more workforce development, investing in young people, investing in small business to help the entrepreneurs grow. Reducing the national debt, and promoting American energy," McDonnell says.

Filed under: 2012 Race • Barack Obama • Mitt Romney
September 18th, 2012
10:11 AM ET

Jeffrey Toobin’s ‘The Oath’ looks at competing goals of Pres. Obama and Chief Justice Roberts

CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin takes a closer look at the competing visions between President Obama and Chief Justice Roberts in his new book, “The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court.”

“[Obama and Roberts] are six years apart in age, both products of the Chicago area, both products of Harvard law school, [and] the Harvard law review, but fundamentally in terms of what matters, incredibly different,” Toobin says on Starting Point today. “[One] really wants to change the constitution and the other doesn’t. I think most people would be surprised that it’s actually Roberts who is the candidate of change when it comes to the Supreme Court.”

Toobin's new book compares the Supreme Court's goals with those of the White House, specifically exmaining Chief Justice Roberts' strategy and decision on crucial cases, like the Affordable Care Act.

Filed under: Barack Obama • SCOTUS
September 17th, 2012
11:26 AM ET

Obama rep.: Administration is working to 'ensure security of our people serving abroad'

Jen Psaki, the Obama campaign’s traveling press secretary, argues that the violent protests in Benghazi, Libya broke out in response to the American-made anti-Islamic film despite claims of several politicians that the attack was a premeditated and coordinated effort.

“Unfortunately, this is a response to a video that we had nothing to do with that is disgusting and we have repudiated strongly,” Psaki says. “And now we're working every day to make sure that we can address this, and make sure we can ensure the security of our people serving abroad.”

While Republicans criticize the president’s policies, Psaki further argues that the United States under President Obama remains capable of protecting its interests and embassies abroad.

“The president is someone who said, 'I'm going to go after Osama bin Laden.' And he did. And he's dead. He said, 'I'm going to go after al Qaeda.' And he's decimated them. He's restored our place in the world. This is a crisis we're dealing with, the president is focused on every single day,” argues Psaki, who also worked as the White House deputy communications director for the Obama administration.

Filed under: Al Qaeda • Barack Obama • Libya • Obama administration • Osama Bin Laden
September 14th, 2012
01:47 PM ET

Obama foreign policy adviser responds to criticism of the president's Egypt comments

Tim Roemer, foreign policy advisor for the Obama campaign, weighs in on the American politics of the unrest in the Middle East, arguing that unlike Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama did not make the violent protests political.

Roemer also responds to criticism of the president's statement that Egypt is not a U.S. ally, explaining that he thinks that Obama "was feeling some frustration...given the tragic loss of our ambassador and our other three American family members."

Regarding Romney's approach to the unrest in the Middle East, Roemer says,“Governor Romney has made a score of mistakes in his foreign policy. I think he wants to harken back to the playbook during the Bush years of everything can be solved by intervention of our military.”

Filed under: 2012 Race • Barack Obama • Egypt • Elections • Mitt Romney
September 14th, 2012
12:59 PM ET

Romney adviser: 'There was evidence of what was going to happen in Egypt a week or so' ago

Anti-American protests continued to flare up in countries around the world overnight, and U.S. embassies are bracing for more violence as the day progresses.

Amb. Richard Williamson, Romney campaign senior foreign policy adviser, responds to how the Obama administration is handling the situation on Starting Point this morning.

"I think what we're seeing in Yemen and Egypt and Libya is turmoil that's very disturbing, that crowds U.S. interests and, frankly, is part of a pattern where they see less resolve and strength of the United States," Williamson says.

Regarding the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Libya, Williamson says that "there are things that can and should have been done" by the government to prevent the violence against the embassy.

"We should have learned the lessons of the Baltics, of Timor Leste, of Sierra Leone, and that is we go in to help during reconciliation and reconstruction. The administration chose not to do that," Williamson explains. "Second, 9/11 is 9/11. It's not a surprise that this is a day where bad things might happen and it's disturbing to get some reports of intelligence that may have not been followed up."

When pressed to explain how Mitt Romney would have handled the various protests differently, Williamson explains that while Obama "cut assistance to democracy and civil society groups in Egypt dramatically when he came into office," Romney would "be more active, trying to work with civil society and reform movements so we would be partners in this evolution."

Filed under: Barack Obama • Middle East • Mitt Romney • Obama administration
September 7th, 2012
09:54 AM ET

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn: Romney ‘pretty extreme’ for failure to disclose tax returns

After hammering Mitt Romney in his DNC convention speech Tuesday, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn explains to Soledad O’Brien why he called the former governor an “extreme, conservative man” in the speech.

“I think you’re pretty extreme if you don’t disclose your income tax returns. George Romney, who was the father of Mitt Romney, when he ran for president disclosed years and years of his tax returns,” the Illinois governor says.

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