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Obama agenda: Gun policies popular

President Obama’s gun policies are viewed favorably by majorities in both a new Washington Post/ABC poll (52%/41%) and Gallup, which asked about specific recommendations rather than the plan as a whole. 

Gallup: “The two least-broadly supported proposals, but ones majorities of Americans still favor, are reinstating and strengthening the 1994-2004 ban on assault weapons (60%), and limiting the sale of ammunition magazines to those with 10 rounds or less (54%). The 60% saying they would vote "for" the assault weapons proposal is higher than the 44% support Gallup found with a similar measure in December that described assault weapons as ‘semi-automatic guns known as assault rifles.’ Also, the current wording reminds respondents that this would be a renewal of a law that existed previously." 

It’s not all good news for Obama. Despite pledges of post-partisanship in 2008, Gallup writes, “Obama's Fourth Year in Office Ties as Most Polarized Ever.” From the poll: “During his fourth year in office, an average of 86% of Democrats and 10% of Republicans approved of the job Barack Obama did as president. That 76-percentage-point gap ties George W. Bush's fourth year as the most polarized years in Gallup records.”

“Hillary wasn’t about to be pilloried,” the New York Post writes. “An enraged Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday fired back at congressional Republicans who charged she failed to heed warnings about lax security at a Libyan consulate where four Americans died in a terroristic attack last Sept. 11.”

Clinton rapped Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), mostly ignored and smirked at Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who said he would have fired her, disagreed with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). And that was just the Senate session. In the afternoon, over at the House hearing, the Post writes that she “fenced” with Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX). Here was the exchange: 

CLINTON: “A million cables a year come to the State Department. They’re not all addressed to me.
MCCAUL: “This cable went unnoticed by your office. That’s the bottom line.”

There were a couple of Democrats – Sens. Menendez (D-NJ) and Boxer (D-CA) – who hinted at a potential 2016 run. But a Republican did, too – Rep. Steve Chabot: "I wish you the best in your future endeavors...mostly." (H/T: Political Wire.)

“Senator John F. Kerry and his wife have agreed that should he become secretary of state they will divest nearly 100 separate investments in the United States and abroad -- ranging from oil companies to weapons makers and a Chinese food company -- in an effort to avoid conflicts of interest, according to a copy of his so-called ethics agreement,” the Boston Globe reports, adding, “The divestitures of Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry, the heir to the Heinz ketchup fortune, include Cenovus Energy Inc., the Canadian company that would benefit from the proposed Keystone XL pipeline; Waltham-based Raytheon Co.; Exxon Mobil Corp.; drug maker Pfizer; communications giant Qualcomm Inc. and AT&T; American Express; Microsoft; a number of international private equity firms; and dozens of others.”

John McCain on Kerry’s hearings: “We will bring back for the only time waterboarding to get the truth out of him.”

Expect Syria to be something McCain brings up. 

More: “McCain is not expected to go so easy on another Vietnam veteran and former senator, Chuck Hagel, who goes before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday for his conformation hearing to be secretary of defense.” 

Some trivia from the Boston Globe: Kerry will be the eighth secretary of state from Massachusetts, but only the second in the past 100 years. He would also be the fifth chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee to be appointed, but the only sitting chairman.

As we’ve previously written: “The special general election is required by state law to take place 145 to 160 days after a vacancy occurs. … The primary is required to be six weeks before the general.” 

That means if Kerry were to step down Monday, Jan. 28th, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) would have to set the date between Saturday, June 22 and Sunday, July 7. A primary would have to take place between Saturday, May 11 and Sunday, May 26.

“Senior defense officials say Pentagon chief Leon Panetta is removing the military's ban on women serving in combat, opening hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs after more than a decade at war,” the New York Daily News writes.

For winning the NBA championship last year, “The Miami Heat will be in suits and ties when they visit the White House on Monday. Unless, of course, someone invites them to play some ball,” AP writes. “After all, President Barack Obama does enjoy some pickup games. ‘Everybody will bring their shoes — just in case,’ Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.” 

Flashback: LeBron James is, of course, now the star of the Heat, but in 2004, he was a phenom between his rookie and second year in the NBA playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Backstage at the Democratic National Convention -- as told to author David Mendell in the book about Obama, “From Promise to Power” -- then state-Sen. Barack Obama, about to go on stage to deliver the address that would launch his meteoric rise was asked if he was nervous. His reply? “I’m LeBron, baby. I can play on this level. I got some game." 

Politico looks at what President Obama could do on climate change through executive action. And apparently Derek Jeter talked in support of action at Davos.

Al Gore’s richer than Mitt Romney now?