National Politics

President Barack Obama arrives on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. Obama returned from a two-day trip where he talked about the themes he laid out in his State of the Union address. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“As a matter of longstanding practice and principle, we do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country,” National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said.

Pro-abortion rights supporters hold up signs in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, as they wait for the arrival of anti-abortion demonstrators during the annual March for Life. Thousands of anti-abortion demonstrators gathered in Washington for an annual march to protest the Supreme Court's landmark 1973 decision that declared a constitutional right to abortion. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

“This march is part of a longer one, and our destination is clear: to secure and protect the rights of every unborn child. When there is disagreement, we should pause and listen closely. When there is movement, we should rejoice, and the House’s vote to ban taxpayer funding of abortion is cause for doing so,” he said.

FILE - In this Oct. 31, 2012 file photo, then-Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talks with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as they fly on his campaign plane to Miami Fla. Outlining his possible rationale for a third presidential bid, Mitt Romney said Wednesday night that political leaders in both parties are failing to address the nation’s most pressing problems _ climate change, poverty and education reform, among them _ as he acknowledged lessons learned from his failed 2012 presidential campaign. It came hours before he was scheduled to meet privately with Bush, whose aggressive steps toward a White House bid of his own helped force Romney’s hand. Should they both run, they would compete for much of same establishment support.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

“There is not a clear frontrunner in this race,” said New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman and former Romney backer Jennifer Horn. “It’s a new cycle, it’s a new slate of candidates, and he’s going to have to work really hard to earn the votes one by one — just like everyone else.”

President Barack Obama speaks during a visit to the University of Kansas Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, in Lawrence, Kansas. Obama was speaking  about the themes in his State of the Union address. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

“The president’s plan would consolidate education savings incentives into one vehicle and redirect the savings into the better targeted” American Opportunity Tax Credit, the White House says in a description of the proposal.

Anti-abortion activists stage a "die-in" in front of the White House in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. Buoyed by conservative gains in the November 2014 election, the anti-abortion movement is busy mobilizing on behalf of bills in Congress and several state legislatures that would further curtail women's access to the procedure. Thursday marks the 42nd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 that established a nationwide right to abortion. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON | With thousands of anti-abortion protesters in town, Republicans are ready to push legislation through the House designed to please them. But it’s not the bill an embarrassed GOP was hoping for. Republican leaders had planned House passage Thursday of legislation criminalizing most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, an act that would have defied […]

President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, in Washington. Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, listen in the background. (AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool)

“Much of what he did tonight … new taxes, new spending is sort of the same old thing that we’ve heard over the last six years,” said newly installed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, not long after the president wrapped up a State of the Union speech studded with veto threats and challenges to newly empowered congressional Republicans.

President Barack Obama shakes hands after delivering the State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool)

“At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits,” he said. “Instead, we’ve seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in 50 years.”

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2014, file photo, President Barack Obama delivers the State of Union address before a joint session of Congress in the House chamber in Washington. Obama will outline in his State of the Union address Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, appear to be aimed at driving the debate in the 2016 election on income inequality and middle-class economic issues, rather than setting a realistic agenda for Congress. (AP Photo/Larry Downing, Pool, File)

“Inequality_and especially the growing opportunity gap_have become the top litmus test of seriousness for 2016,” said Robert Putnam, a Harvard political scientist who has discussed inequality issues with the president and his advisers. “The entry ticket for the presidential sweepstakes is that you have a policy — some policy — for dealing with this issue.”

File-This Jan. 9, 2015, file photo shows President Barack Obama speaking at Pellissippi State Community College, in Knoxville, Tenn. President Obama is turning to his biggest television audience of the year to pitch tax increases on the wealthiest Americans and put the new Republican Congress in the position of defending top income earners over the middle class. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

“Slapping American small businesses, savers and investors with more tax hikes only negates the benefits of the tax policies that have been successful in helping to expand the economy, promote savings and create jobs,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the Finance Committee, said in a weekend statement.

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