November 28th, 2012
08:36 AM ET

Sen. Durbin: Leave entitlements to long term negotiations

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) tells CNN’s Soledad O’Brien that entitlement programs should not be on the negotiating table to avoid the fiscal cliff and “mandatory spending cuts in other areas” and tax revenue are the best options. When O’Brien asks how he can assure entitlement programs will be reformed after the fiscal cliff negotiations, Sen. Durbin says that she has “a right to be skeptical.”

Sen. Durbin says, “The Social Security is a separate thing. It does not add a penny to the debt. We should deal with its long term survival and solvency. We can do that in a separate setting other than this last minute fiscal cliff negotiation. I will put Medicare into the long term negotiation here because, as I said, it runs out of money in 12 years.”

He adds, “What we need to put on the table in short term is actual deficit reduction. We can do that through mandatory spending cuts in other areas. We can do it through the tax revenue that the President has called for. I think, for instance, if the Speaker of the House decided today to call the measure passed by the bipartisan Senate to protect all families making $250,000 or less from any income tax increase, December 31, that would put enough revenue on the front end of this conversation to move us toward a solution.”

Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien airs weekday mornings from 7-9a ET on CNN.


Topics: CNN • CNN Politics • Soledad O'Brien • Starting Point
November 27th, 2012
03:34 PM ET

Blitzer sits down with Mexican President-elect

Ahead of the Mexican President-elect's meeting with President Obama today at the White House, Enrique Peña Nieto sat down with CNN's Wolf Blitzer to talk about U.S. relations with Mexico, trade and more. This full interview will air today on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer in the 5 p.m. ET hour. A highlight from the interview is below and a full transcript will be posted on http://archives.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/sitroom.html.

PLEASE CREDIT ALL USAGE TO CNN’s THE SITUATION ROOM WITH WOLF BLITZER

HIGHLIGHT FROM INTERVIEW
THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. IT MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, HOST:  What's the biggest problem in U.S.-Mexican relations right now?

ENRIQUE PENA NIETO, PRESIDENT-ELECT, MEXICO:  To build a greater trust in our relationship.  I think this first encounter with Mr. Obama, this first meeting, the main meeting - purpose will be to get to know each other, because I'm convinced that a good relationship between the countries has to go through the people who head said governments.  They will have a good understanding.

And my purpose, then, is to create a relationship, to build a relationship based on trust, a relationship that would be positive, constructive, that would allow us to understand the world affairs and the world matters that both peoples have to face.  And based on this agreement, we'll reach a relationship of brotherhood.

###

Mexico's new leader on U.S.-Mexican relations
November 27th, 2012
03:02 PM ET

Sen. Rand Paul: We should fix entitlements because they are broken

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told CNN's Brooke Baldwin entitlements are broken. It is not my fault. It is not the Democrats' fault. It's because your grandparents had too may babies and because we're living longer. These are the facts.


Topics: Brooke Baldwin • CNN • CNN Newsroom
November 27th, 2012
08:57 AM ET

Sen. Toomey: I won't violate tax pledge by closing loopholes, reducing deductions

Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) addresses the fiscal cliff negotiations and says he’s open to closing loopholes and reducing deductions, if we lower marginal rates and decrease spending. However, he says he would not violate Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge by doing so.

Sen. Toomey says, “The revenue side isn’t where the problem lies in the first place. This is a side show to the real problem – the real problem that the President has refused to address. How are we going to put our entitlement programs on a sustainable path? How are we going to live within our means? Now if we’re going to do something on the revenue side, then for Gosh sakes let’s at least not damage the economy any more than we have to. And so let’s do it by lowering marginal rates and generating revenue through reducing the value of deductions, write-offs and loopholes – the kinds of things that destroy economic activity.”

When CNN’s John Berman points out that closing loopholes and reducing deductions would violate Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, Toomey answers, “I don’t intend to violate any pledge. My pledge is not to support higher taxes. What we’re faced with in just a few weeks is a massive tax increase. If I can help ensure that we don’t have that tax increase, then I believe I’ve fulfilled my pledge to fight for the lowest possible taxes.” Berman adds that Norquist may disagree with him.

Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien airs weekday mornings from 7-9am ET on CNN.


Topics: CNN • CNN Politics • Starting Point
November 26th, 2012
08:51 AM ET

Norquist: Rep. King knew that pledge was "not for a two year period"

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist says Rep. Peter King (R-NY) knew that by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to not raise taxes, he knew that the commitment was for the duration of his Congress run, not just for one term. Norquist adds that he would highlight those who break from pledge.

Norquist says, “I do want to correct one thing. Congressman Peter King of New York knows full well that the pledge that he signed and others have, is for while you’re in Congress. It’s not for a two year period.”

Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien airs weekday mornings from 7-9a ET on CNN.


Topics: CNN • CNN Politics • Soledad O'Brien • Starting Point
November 26th, 2012
08:44 AM ET

Rep. Pascrell: Must raise rates; will not jeopardize entitlement benefits

House Budget Committee Member Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) says Democrats are willing to compromise to avoid fiscal cliff, but will not “jeopardize plan benefits for Social Security” or Medicare benefits. Pascrell says he’s open to changing Medicare, limiting deductions and considering revenue options.

On Republicans breaking from Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, Rep. Pascrell says, “The devil’s in the details, as you well know. I’m glad that some Republicans … understand that the math doesn’t just add up if you simply take revenue off the table. You can’t do that.”

Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien airs weekday mornings from 7-9a ET on CNN.


Topics: CNN • CNN Politics • Soledad O'Brien • Starting Point
November 25th, 2012
11:00 AM ET

Retiring lawmakers reflect on their careers on State of the Union

Today for a special edition of CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Yielding their Time, retiring Senators Jon Kyl, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Joe Lieberman and Rep. Barney Frank reflect on their careers, their accomplishments, and their disappointments; plus, they offer advice to members of the 113th Congress. A full transcript of the interview is after the jump.

 EMBEDDABLE VIDEO:

Retiring lawmakers on compromising in Washington

Gridlock still grips Capitol Hill

Congressional approval at an all time low

Lawmakers on their best and worst days in Congress

Lawmakers on their post-retirement plans

Lawmakers weigh in on the downfall of David Petraeus

FULL POST

November 21st, 2012
04:40 PM ET

Hamas political leader to Amanpour on Israel's right to exist: "I need recognition, not the Israelis"

Khaled Meshaal , the political leader of the Palestinian organization Hamas,  spoke exclusively with Christiane Amanpour from Cairo, Egypt for the Wednesday, Nov. 21st edition of Amanpour.   Amanpour pressed him on whether his organization was responsible for the bombing of a civilian passenger bus in Tel Aviv, whether Hamas would agree to a ceasefire with Israel, and under what conditions Hamas would agree to recognize the State of Israel.

The following is an excerpt from the interview:

AMANPOUR:  You say you would prefer the route that did not cause so much violence, so much death.  And yet, you say that you would accept a two-state solution, but that you will not recognize Israel's right to exist.  Is that still the case?

MESHAAL (through translator):  First of all, the offer must come from the attacker, from Israel, which has the arsenal, not from the victim.  Second, I say to you from 20 years ago and more, the Palestinians and Arabs are offering peace.  But peace is destroying peace through aggression and war and killing.

This idea (ph), this touch failed experiences, we have two options.  No other.  Either there's an international will, led by the U.S. and Europe and the international community and force Israel to go through the way of peace and a Palestinian state, according to the border of 1967 with the right to return.  And this is something we have agreed upon as Palestinians, as a common program.

But if Israel can continue to refuse this, either the - either we force them or resist to - resort to resistance.  I accept a state of the 1967.  How can I accept Israel?  They have occupied my land.  I need recognition, not the Israelis.  This is a reversed question.

The full transcript of this program may be found here.  This edition of Amanpour aired on Wednesday, Nov. 21 on CNN International at 3:00pmET in the North America.   In Europe, Amanpour airs on CNN International at 21:00 CET.

###


Topics: Amanpour • Breaking News • Christiane Amanpour • CNN International • Gaza • Israel
CNN scoops three Foreign Press Association Media Awards
November 21st, 2012
10:03 AM ET

CNN scoops three Foreign Press Association Media Awards

London, 21st November 2012: Last night, the combined efforts of CNN Digital and CNN International saw the network triumph at the Foreign Press Association Media Awards, winning three categories. CNN won the Print & Web Feature, Arts & Culture, and Story of the Year by a Full Member of the FPA awards.

The CNN documentary World’s Untold Stories: Secrets of the Belfast Project won News Story of the Year by a full FPA member. The judges described the documentary as “absolute dynamite, a terrific story and a fine piece of journalism".

The Arts & Culture award was given to Leonardo – The Lost Painting, a documentary that explored the story behind the recent discovery of a Leonardo da Vinci painting. Judges praised the “love and lingering interest” that had gone into the piece, describing it as “a very well done cultural story”.

The Print & Web Feature award was clinched by Mauritania: Slavery’s Last Stand – a CNN Digital feature that revealed the shocking extent of slavery in modern Mauritania. The judges remarked that the piece was “in some ways the most convincing and best edited of all the categories". FULL POST


Topics: Awards • CNN • CNN Digital • CNN International • Digital • iReport • Nic Robertson • Nick Paton Walsh
November 21st, 2012
09:41 AM ET

Israel Amb.: Hamas is about killing civilians; Israel ground troops ready to defend country

Israel Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren responds to bus bombing in Tel Aviv this morning and talks about long term goals of ending the conflict. Oren says that ground troops are on the table if attacks continue.

Oren says, “We think that the bus explosion in Tel Aviv is the essence of what this whole conflict is about. It’s about Hamas terrorists. And there are a number of other terrorists groups, not just Hamas, in Gaza that want to maximize the number of Israelis they can kill… They’re about killing civilians.”

He continues, “De-escalation is not going to be possible, if Hamas doesn’t stop shooting at us.”


Topics: Breaking News • Gaza • Israel
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