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Feb. 10, 2013 at 5:00 PM   |   Comments

Graham urges holding up Obama nominations

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- A senior Republican senator said President Obama's Cabinet nominations should be shelved pending more detailed information about the Libyan consulate attack.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on CBS's "Face the Nation" he did not believe the confirmations of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary and John Brennan as head of the CIA should proceed until the Obama administration comes clean as to what took place in the White House while the compound in Benghazi was under attack.

"What did he (Obama) do that night?" said Graham, "That's not unfair. The families need to know. The American people need to know."

Graham told CBS one of his priority questions was how aggressive Obama was in sending U.S. personnel to relieve the consulate. He said a squad of State Department agents tried to get to Benghazi from Tripoli but was held up for hours at the airport by Libyan officials. Obama, he said, failed to personally intercede with the new Libyan government to allow the agents to take off.

"This is a complete system failure, and I'm going to get to the bottom of it," Graham vowed.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., countered the White House had its hands full with anti-American demonstrations in Egypt, and that U.S. military leaders were too far away to mount a timely rescue mission. "The idea that the president was not engaged is, I think, completely wrong," he said. "He directed the secretary of defense ... to begin moving assets into the region to provide any response."

Reed called the idea of blocking the Hagel and Brenner nominations "unprecedented and unwarranted," but Graham said the Democrats had used similar tactics when President George W. Bush nominated the outspoken John Bolton to be ambassador to the United Nations.


Pelosi says deficit takes time to reduce

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- The Democratic leader in the U.S. House said the nation's budget deficit stems from past emergencies and will take time to whittle down.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said on "Fox News Sunday" the freewheeling spending by Washington in recent years addressed the economic stimulus of the Obama administration coupled with big-ticket items from the Bush years, including the Medicare drug benefit, tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It isn't as much you had a spending problem as it was priorities, and that is what the budget is, setting priorities," said Pelosi.

Pelosi said further spending cuts should spare valuable social programs and instead target agricultural subsidies and breaks for the oil industry. "Why should we lower Pell Grants instead of eliminating the subsidies for big oil?" she said.

Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said Pelosi was premature in insisting spending reductions would cut into vital services. "You go back and you look at domestic spending over the last four years that exploded under the stimulus and just annual resolutions funding the government, there is a lot more fat to cut there," he said.


Paul giving Tea Party reaction to Obama

ATLANTA, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Sunday his planned Tea Party reaction to President Obama's State of the Union speech won't be divisive in the Republican Party.

In an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union," Paul said his planned reaction on behalf of the Tea Party will be separate from the Republican reaction by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., because members of of the Tea Party "want an independent voice."

"I think it just shows that there is a movement in the Republican Party, that has been very vocal, I think particularly in the 2010 election, there was a big movement that helped us win elections. There's a lot of energy that still comes from the Tea Party, and while they consider themselves mostly to be Republican, they occasionally will chastise even the Republican establishment," Paul said.

He said just because he is providing a separate response from the GOP, doesn't mean the two "necessarily disagree."

"You know, I think to me I see it as an extra response, I don't see it necessarily divisive. You know I won't say anything on there that necessarily is like Marco Rubio is wrong," Paul said.

Paul said he anticipates Obama will talk about raising taxes during his State of the Union speech Tuesday.

"I'll talk about the Republican message, which is we believe you stimulate the economy by reducing taxes, not revenue neutral, I mean really reducing taxes, cutting corporate tax in half, cutting the personal income tax, and the fact that you actually sometimes bring in more revenue when you cut tax rates," Paul said.


Fox bites off baby's finger in London home

LONDON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Police in London were investigating a fox attack on an infant in which the baby's finger was torn off, officials said.

Surgeons were able to reattach the 1-month-old's finger and he was recovering at home, Sky News reported Sunday.

Police said the fox entered family home in Bromley, southeast London, through an open back door Wednesday and found its way to the nursery, where it grabbed the boy and dragged him from his bed.

The mother said she had to "wrestle the fox off the baby," a neighbor, Paula Wellington, told Sky News.

"I've seen foxes around here before but I've never heard anything like this," Wellington said.

She said the family has since moved.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said police were called in by hospital staff reporting about the boy being attacked by a fox.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said the problem of foxes in the city must be examined.

"Thankfully this sort of attack, though terrible, is rare, but we must do more to tackle the growing problem of urban foxes," he said. "They may appear cuddly and romantic but foxes are a pest and a menace, particularly in our cities."

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