(Tom Williams/Roll Call)
–John Boehner is poised to take the Speaker’s gavel today. Alex raises the curtain.
–Ahmed Rahsid reports on the incredibly precarious path ahead in Afghanistan.
–Biden chief of staff and all-around White House heavyweight Ron Klain will depart for the private sector.
–Steve Schale, Obama’s Florida director in ’08, argues the state will still be very competitive in ’12 despite a lackluster midterm cycle for Sunshine State Democrats.
—Mark Blumenthal points out national presidential horse race polls this early aren’t worth much.
–Tom Jensen thinks Republicans need a fresh face to best Obama and that Mike Huckabee is the only candidate currently hitting the sweet spot between electability and base support.
–Nebraska Republicans may end the state’s practice of awarding electoral votes by congressional district — Obama won (and campaigned in) urban Omaha’s 2nd CD in ’08. Ben Nelson, probably the most endangered Senate Democrat next cycle, needs the turnout boost brought by presidential attention.
Mr. Daniels: …This is more frightening than even the Soviet nuclear threat, which would have been more horrible. If we go broke, we’ll still be alive, but the probability was so small. In this case, the damage, the catastrophe, will be very, very severe, and the probability – I mean, and it’s inexorable.
Q: Absent action.
Mr. Daniels: Absent action, yeah. The probability, I think, sadly, is very high.
It appears that absent action part would essentially be Daniels’s argument for higher office, were he to seek it.
—End of life planning gets scrubbed again.
—U.S. auto sales boomed in December. When Obama is making the case for his reelection (and defending government intervention in his first term) this industry is likely to be front and center.
–And Colbert moderates a debate between Leonhardt and Ron Paul on the gold standard: