February 22, 2013
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SmartBrief on Business and Politics

National Pulse
Obama seeks to break "sequestration" impasse with $1.8 trillion deal
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President Barack Obama has proposed a $1.8 trillion package of spending cuts and tax increases in a bid to avert the March 1 "sequestration" spending cuts, and he reached out to GOP leaders Thursday to pitch his plan. Republicans pushed back, accusing Obama of seeking more taxes rather than a workable compromise deal. "The president was offered a truly balanced approach ... and he turned it down. His appetite for higher taxes knows no bounds," said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Rep. John Boehner. RealClearPolitics/The Associated Press (2/22), The Washington Post (2/22), The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/The Caucus blog (2/22)
Reader Polls
This week's poll results: Readers love the Gipper
Ronald Reagan is the favorite president among the respondents to this week's poll. The Great Communicator outdistanced runner-up Abraham Lincoln by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. Complete results are below. Among the alternative answers submitted by readers: Richard Nixon for his foreign policy accomplishments, Lyndon Johnson for civil rights and social programs, James K. Polk for westward expansion and Barack Obama for health care reform. Next week: The sequestration cometh
Ronald Reagan  35.66%
Abraham Lincoln  19.01%
George Washington  8.30%
Bill Clinton  7.66%
Barack Obama  5.13%
Thomas Jefferson  5.05%
Franklin Delano Roosevelt  5.01%
John F. Kennedy  4.17%
Theodore Roosevelt  3.93%
George W. Bush  2.29%
None of the above/other  2.01%
Dwight D. Eisenhower  1.76%
Woodrow Wilson  0.00%
Jimmy Carter  0.00%
George H.W. Bush  0.00%
James Madison  0.00%
Harry S. Truman  0.00%
Agenda Items
Hagel has the votes, looks set to be confirmed as Defense chief
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Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., has announced his support for Chuck Hagel as secretary of Defense, giving Hagel enough votes to secure his confirmation. Some 15 of Hagel's Senate opponents countered with a letter calling for their colleagues to block the appointment and insist on a nominee "whose candidacy is neither controversial nor divisive." The Wall Street Journal (2/21), FoxNews.com/The Associated Press (2/21), United Press International (2/21)
Data Points
Why large cities tend to support Democratic candidates
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Urban areas tend to skew heavily Democratic in elections, and a new analysis reveals why. The Democratic urban vote is driven chiefly by educated creative-industry and knowledge workers; in fact, Republicans usually do well in cities with primarily industrial or blue-collar economies. "America is divided between cities of knowledge and skill and the rest," writes Richard Florida. The Atlantic Cities (2/19)
The Conversation
Daily Diversion
So you think you know who will win Oscars. Wanna bet?
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The world will come to Hollywood on Sunday night as the motion picture industry honors the past year's top achievements with the annual Academy Awards presentation. Movie buffs will be watching the stars, fashionistas will be watching the gowns, and gamblers will be watching the odds. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (2/22)
Behold a republic standing erect while empires all around are bowed beneath the weight of their own armaments -- a republic whose flag is loved while other flags are only feared."
-- William Jennings Bryan, American politician
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