Whether he gets "that for free" or not, President Obama has no interest in averting the fiscal cliff, says the No. 4 Republican in the Senate. "I think he sees a political victory at the bottom of the cliff," Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso told Fox News today, according to Politico. "He gets all this additional tax revenue for new programs; he gets to cut the military, which Democrats have been calling for for years; and he gets to blame Republicans for it." House Rep. Mick Mulvaney echoed the sentiment, telling CNN, “I continue to believe that the president has no interest at all in not going over the cliff." Not so fast, counters Democrat Kent Conrad: “I would hope that we would have one last attempt here to do what everyone knows needs to be done, which is a larger plan that really does stabilize the debt and gets us moving in the right direction."
- Cory Booker on gun control debate: "I don't know if anybody here has seen somebody shot. I have. And what frustrates me about this debate is that it's a false debate. Most of us in America, including gun owners, agree on things that would stop the kind of carnage that is going on in cities all over America. Let's stick to the pragmatic center where all Americans believe the same thing and let's pass legislation that works."
- Chuck Schumer on NRA chief Wayne LaPierre (click for more on LaPierre's appearance): "I think he's so extreme and so tone deaf that he actually helps the cause of us passing sensible gun legislation in the Congress. I just think he's turning people off, that not where America's at, and he's actually helping us."
- Lindsey Graham on Chuck Hagel's chances at Pentagon job: "Lots of Republicans are going to ask him hard questions and I don't think he's going to get many Republican votes. I like Chuck, but his positions ... are really out of the mainstream and well to the left of the president. I think it would be a challenging nomination."
- Joe Lieberman on Hagel: "I served with Chuck Hagel, I worked with him on some things. I like him, and I respect him. I wouldn't say his votes disqualify him but if I were in the Senate and on the Armed Service Committee and he was nominated, I would have some really serious questions to ask him."