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Obama agenda: Never mind that sex scandal…

The New York tabs are all over the military scandal. The New York Daily News: “In the line of booty.” And if this scandal weren’t Soap Opera enough, now there’s a twin! The New York Post: “Sister Act: Petraeus helps whistleblower’s twin in custody fight with hubby.”

“Even as senior members of Congress from both parties raising questions about the Petraeus and Allen disclosures and scheduled hearings, Obama yesterday pressed ahead with a planned meeting with labor leaders and Democratic-leaning activists.

It was the first in a series of stakeholder sessions the president has set regarding the fiscal cliff,” Bloomberg writes.

Obama holds his first press conference since winning reelection today at 1:30 pm ET.

Politico: “This is not what the White House wanted for President Barack Obama’s first news conference of his second term. He won’t be able to dwell much on his stronger-than-expected victory or even press his agenda for the next four years. Instead, he’ll be diverted by a Washington sex scandal.”

“President Barack Obama will begin budget negotiations with congressional leaders Friday by calling for $1.6 trillion in additional tax revenue over the next decade, far more than Republicans are likely to accept and double the $800 billion discussed in talks with GOP leaders during the summer of 2011,” the http://bbc.in/T0f65v">Wall Street Journal reports. “Mr. Obama, in a meeting Tuesday with union leaders and other liberal activists, also pledged to hang tough in seeking tax increases on wealthy Americans. In one sign of conciliation, he made no specific commitment to leave unscathed domestic programs such as Medicare, leaving the door open to spending cuts….”

“Although major business groups remain allied with Republicans and firmly opposed to tax rate increases sought by the president, the administration can hope to pick up support from a few individual executives for what Obama calls a ‘balanced approach’ to reducing the budget deficit and heading off the sweeping tax increases and automatic spending cuts scheduled to begin Jan. 1,” Roll Call writes. “Obama plans to sit down with a dozen chief executives to hear their ideas about how the nation can avoid the tax increases and program cutbacks known as the fiscal cliff.”

USA Today lays out the stakes: “A compromise portends discomfort, most likely in the form of reduced paychecks, jobless benefits and business tax breaks. And a stalemate means higher taxes and reduced federal spending across the board, including at the Pentagon. That last scenario has Main Street and Wall Street worried.”

They go through three scenarios of what could happen: (1) A hard landing: “As Obama demands higher tax rates for the wealthiest and Republicans insist that won't happen, the two sides could go briefly past Jan. 1 without a deal on most of the expiring tax breaks”; (2) A soft landing: “This most likely scenario includes extending most if not all of the Bush tax cuts and making a down payment on spending cuts. The payroll tax cut and extended jobless benefits could expire; the AMT could be patched. A timetable for actions on spending and income taxes would be created”; (3) A safe landing: “The least likely scenario is the opposite of going over the cliff: striking a ‘grand bargain’ during the lame-duck Congress and outlining how to get $3 trillion or more in deficit reduction over the next decade. … [T]here are dangers to agreeing on too much, too soon. It could trigger a European-style recession, which could turn policymakers back toward stimulus spending and tax cuts, such as those enacted in 2009.”

The Boston Globe lists potential candidates if John Kerry’s tapped in the second Obama administration: “Among the high-profile Democratic officeholders who are expressing interest are three of the state’s congressmen: Edward J. Markey of Malden, the 66-year old dean of the congressional delegation; Michael E. Capuano of Somerville, who ran second to Martha Coakley in the 2009 Senate primary; and Stephen F. Lynch of South Boston, a conservative Democrat who won his seat in a 2001 special election in which several liberals divided the vote on the left. US Attorney Carmen Ortiz, who has gained the attention of the political world by prosecuting former speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi, has also been mentioned as a potential candidate, despite her lack of electoral experience. But those hoping for a rematch between Coakley and Brown could be disappointed. Coakley has not ruled out a run, but insiders said she would not be a Democratic favorite after her poor performance in the 2010 special election.”

The Globe also looks at how Gov. Deval Patrick might act.