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February 11, 2013
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National Pulse 
  • Obama speech will be all stick, no carrot
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    President Barack Obama plans to take a tough line with his GOP opponents in Tuesday night's State of the Union address, insiders say. Obama will give a nod to bipartisanship but plans to use the speech chiefly as a launchpad for an aggressive second-term agenda, according to the sources. The White House is planning a social media and PR broadside to accompany the speech, and the president will travel across the country to promote his proposals in the following days. Politico (Washington, D.C.) (2/11) , The Hill (2/11) , The Associated Press (2/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Reader Polls 
  • This week's poll: The drone debate
    The use of unmanned aircraft has been common on the modern battlefield for 20 years or more. Long used for reconnaissance, drones have been upgraded to carry weapons. A program started during the Bush administration and expanded in the Obama administration gives the CIA authority to use drones to find and kill suspected terrorist leaders. Human rights groups decry the practice, citing the collateral deaths of civilians and the lack of due process when American terrorists are the target. The Obama administration says the program is legal and justified in the unconventional war we are fighting against terrorists. Today's question: Should the drone program be continued, expanded, reduced or canceled? We will publish the results Friday. As always, if you care to share your views in more detail, send them to us via this link. Use "Content Feedback" for the category.
The CIA's drone program should be expanded
The CIA's drone program should be continued at present levels
The CIA's drone program should be reduced
The CIA's drone program should be terminated
Neutral/no opinion
None of the above/other

Agenda Items 
  • How Pope Benedict XVI influenced U.S. politics
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    Benedict XVI/Reuters
    Pope Benedict XVI, who will resign this month, has had plenty to say about U.S. politics since his appointment in 2005. Benedict clashed with President George W. Bush over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; pushed for climate action and universal health care; and emerged as an advocate for economic reform in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Politico (Washington, D.C.) (2/11) , (2/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Data Points 
  • Economists predict U.S. growth will pick up by summer
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    The U.S. economy is poised to accelerate beginning at midyear, generating enough growth to produce a self-sustaining recovery, according to economists surveyed by USA Today. Meanwhile, consensus is growing among economists that a minor fourth-quarter shrinkage reported will be revised to reveal growth, albeit at a sluggish pace. USA Today (2/10) , Bloomberg Businessweek (2/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

The Conversation 
Daily Chuckle 
  • George W. Bush, bathtub visionary
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    A hacker has uncovered a number of paintings completed by George W. Bush, including two thankfully safe-for-work self-portraits of the former president unrobed and bathing. The paintings are crude but appealing, writes Jerry Saltz, and "border on the visionary" in their unguarded simplicity. "They show someone doing the best he can with almost no natural gifts -- except the desire to do this," Saltz writes. Vulture (2/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Hot Topics 

Top five news stories selected by SmartBrief on Business & Politics readers in the past week.

  • Results based on number of times each story was clicked by readers.
Whatever my individual desires were to be free, I was not alone. There were many others who felt the same way."
--Rosa Parks, civil rights activist
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