Democrats have announced the House will vote on January 15 on sending articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told fellow Democrats she would also name the House managers who will prosecute the case against President Trump in the Senate trial.
Nancy Pelosi has been withholding the articles of impeachment in a row with Republicans over allowing witnesses.
Donald Trump was impeached by the Democratic-led House last month.
The president is accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
He denies trying to pressure Ukraine to open an investigation into his would-be Democratic White House challenger Joe Biden.
President Trump has been touting unsubstantiated corruption claims about Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who accepted a lucrative board position with a Ukrainian energy company while his father handled American-Ukraine relations as US vice-president.
The impeachment trial by the Senate will be only the third ever of a US president.
Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans control the chamber 53-47, and are all but certain to acquit him.
Once the resolution is approved, the House managers will walk to the Senate and formally present the articles of impeachment in the well of the chamber, escorted by the sergeant-at-arms. The articles of impeachment will be read out.
On January 14, Senate leader Mitch McConnell met Republican senators behind closed doors to map out the ground rules.
He said the trial was likely to begin in earnest on January 21.
The first couple of days will involve housekeeping duties, possibly later this week.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will be sworn in to preside, and he will administer an oath to all 100 senators to deliver “impartial justice” as jurors.
Lawmakers may hear opening arguments next week. The House managers will lay out their case against President Trump, and his legal team will respond.
The trial is expected to last up to five weeks, with the Senate taking only Sundays off.
President Trump suggested over the weekend that he might prefer simply dismissing the charges rather than giving legitimacy to the “hoax” case against him.
Moderate Republican senators Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah have made clear they would oppose any such motion.
On January 14, the White House said the president is “not afraid of a fight” in his trial.
Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said President Trump was in fact eager for witnesses to testify that “this man did nothing wrong”.
One of the biggest sticking points between House Democrats and Senate Republicans has been whether testimony will be allowed during the trial.
Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Mike Rounds said on January 14 the Senate’s trial plan will guarantee votes on whether to call witnesses and hear new evidence.
It takes just 51 votes to approve rules or call witnesses, meaning four Republican senators would have to side with Democrats to insist on testimony.
The White House is understood to have identified several possible defectors in the Republican ranks, including Susan Collins and Mitt Romney.
The others are Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who is retiring this year.
Republicans say that if witnesses are allowed, they may try to subpoena Joe Biden and his son, and the unidentified government whistleblower whose complaint about President Trump sparked the whole impeachment inquiry.
On November 29, President-elect Donald Trump is expected to meet Mitt Romney for a second time despite one of his top aides launching a public campaign against the former Massachusetts governor’s nomination.
Senior adviser Kellyanne Conway spoke out against Mitt Romney on November 27, saying Donald Trump’s supporters felt “betrayed” he would consider the 2012 Republican nominee for the prominent role.
Mitt Romney was one of Donald Trump’s harshest critics during the campaign.
Donald Trump will also sit down with Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee.
The two men are leading contenders for the all-important diplomatic post.
Earlier, Donald Trump met retired General David Petraeus. He said he was “very impressed” with the former CIA director in a tweet after their meeting on November 28.
David Petraeus pleaded guilty in 2015 to mishandling classified information over documents he had shared with his biographer Paula Broadwell, with whom he was also having an affair.
Donald Trump has met Mitt Romney, with reports suggesting he may be considered for secretary of state.
Mitt Romney was one of Donald Trump’s fiercest critics during the election campaign.
Neither man gave details of their 80-minute meeting on November 19.
Mitt Romney said the talks had been “far-reaching”.
During the campaign, Mitt Romney called Donald Trump a “fraud”, while Trump said Romney’s unsuccessful presidential bid in 2012 had been “the worst ever”.
Donald Trump has settled several posts so far, a number of them controversial.
The nominee for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, was rejected from becoming a federal judge in 1986 because of alleged racist remarks.
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the new national security adviser, has drawn concern over his strident views on Islam.
On leaving Donald Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, Mitt Romney did not answer questions on whether he would accept a cabinet position, or whether he still thought his host was “a con artist”.
Mitt Romney said only that they had held a “far-reaching conversation with regards to the various theatres of the world” in which the US had an interest.
Donald Trump will conduct more meetings with potential appointees at the golf course over the weekend.
Donald Trump will meet Mitt Romney as he continues to build his transitional team.
Mitt Romney was one of Donald Trump’s severest critics during the election campaign.
Media have speculated the post of secretary of state could be discussed.
During the election campaign, Mitt Romney called Donald Trump a “fraud” and “phony”, while Trump said Romney’s unsuccessful campaign against Barack Obama in 2012 was “the worst ever”.
Donald Trump has settled several posts so far, a number of them controversial.
The nominee for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, was rejected from becoming a federal judge in 1986 because of alleged racist remarks.
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the new national security adviser, has drawn concern over his strident views on Islam.
Also on November 18, Donald Trump settled three lawsuits for fraud brought against him over his Trump University.
He tweeted on November 19 that he had settled “for a small fraction of the potential award because as President I have to focus on our country”.
Donald Trump will be at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, all weekend to conduct more meetings with potential appointees.
The president-elect tweeted: “Will be working all weekend in choosing the great men and women who will be helping to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
Asked about the Romney meeting, Sean Spicer, a spokesman for the presidential transition, told reporters: “The president-elect wants the best and brightest people to put this country forward: people who supported him, people who didn’t support him.”
Sean Spicer said Donald Trump usually started conversations by soliciting opinions and thoughts, and then deciding if a candidate warranted appointment.
“The conversation with Mitt Romney is just that: an opportunity to hear his ideas and his thoughts,” he said.
Mitt Romney’s thoughts back in March were decidedly hostile.
The Republican said Donald Trump had neither “the temperament nor the judgement to be president”, accusing him of bullying, misogyny and dishonesty.
“Prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished” if Donald Trump became the nominee, he said.
“His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.”
Donald Trump responded by mocking Mitt Romney, calling him a “failed candidate” and a “choke artist”.
However, media suggest the role of secretary of state could be up for grabs, despite former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani being the early frontrunner.
Mitt Romney would certainly be another link to the Republican establishment, following the appointment of party insider Reince Priebus as chief of staff.
The 2012 Republican candidate in the past has taken a far more critical line on Russia than that suggested by Donald Trump.
Ex-ambassador to the UN John Bolton, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley are also in the running.
Another of those meeting Donald Trump on November 19 will be James Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general being considered for defense secretary.
Gen. James Mattis oversaw military operations in the Middle East from 2010 to 2013 but disagreed with President Barack Obama’s desire for a greater presence in the Gulf.
He is not the only candidate though – Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas met Donald Trump on November 18, the New York Times reported.
The other key appointments so far are Mike Pompeo as CIA director and Stephen Bannon as chief strategist.
In settling the Trump University class-action lawsuits, Donald Trump “was willing to sacrifice his personal interests, put this behind him, and move forward”, his lawyer said.
Donald Trump had been sued by former students who paid $35,000 for real estate “secrets” from his “hand-picked” instructors.
The lawsuits alleged the school had misled students and failed to deliver on its promises.
In his tweets on November 19, Donald Trump said the only thing bad about his election victory was that he would not be able to win the Trump University case in court.
Mitt Romney says he will vote for Texas Senator Ted Cruz in Utah caucus as he is “repulsed” by Donald Trump.
The former Republican presidential candidate said in a Facebook post that the only way to nominate a Republican is to have an open convention, in which party officials choose the nominee.
Mitt Romney campaigned with Governor John Kasich in Ohio but said voting for Ted Cruz is the only way to stop “Trumpism”.
He joins other Republican leaders coalescing around Ted Cruz.
Donald Trump has won the most state contests and holds 678 delegates – 1,237 are needed to win the nomination.
“Mitt Romney is a mixed up man who doesn’t have a clue. No wonder he lost!” Donald Trump said on Twitter.
However, Republican leaders are concerned that Donald Trump’s controversial comments about immigrants, women and Muslims would make him a weak candidate in the general election in November.
Some also feel that the onetime Democrat cannot be trusted to implement conservative policies.
“Today, there is a contest between Trumpism and Republicanism,” Mitt Romney said.
“Through the calculated statements of its leader, Trumpism has become associated with racism, misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, vulgarity and, most recently, threats and violence. I am repulsed by each and every one of these.”
Earlier this month, Mitt Romney gave a speech outlining why he was against Donald Trump, a billionaire businessman with no political experience, calling him a “phoney” and a “fraud”.
Mitt Romney’s home state of Utah holds its presidential contest on March 22.
A group of conservatives including well-known talk radio host Erick Erickson met on March 17 to discuss ways to defeat Donald Trump, including launching a third party campaign to challenge the New York businessman.
“We encourage all former Republican candidates not currently supporting Trump to unite against him and encourage all candidates to hold their delegates on the first ballot,” he said in a statement, put out on behalf of the group.
“We believe that the issue of Donald Trump is greater than an issue of party. It is an issue of morals and character that all Americans, not just those of us in the conservative movement, must confront.”
Many GOP members have also misgiving about Ted Cruz because he has repeatedly and publicly denounced Republican leaders.
However, more prominent Republicans are throwing their support behind Ted Cruz in a last-ditch effort to stop Donald Trump.
Popular South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have recently endorsed Ted Cruz.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who left the Republican race on March 15, said this week he would not be endorsing any of his former rivals.
He also said he had no interest in becoming a vice-presidential nominee.
Donald Trump won four out five primaries on March 15, but the race in Missouri has not been called for the Republicans yet.
Hillary Clinton narrowly won the state’s Democratic primary after her opponent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders declined to pursue a recount.
Mitt Romney has urged the Republican Party to reject Donald Trump, reportedly calling the front-runner a “phony” and “fraud”.
The former Republican presidential candidate accuses Donald Trump of “playing the American public for suckers”, in a planned speech leaked to the media.
Donald Trump has meanwhile mocked Mitt Romney on Twitter as a “failed candidate” who should not advise on getting elected.
Many senior Republicans are alarmed at the prospect of Donald Trump securing the nomination for November’s election.
In the latest attack from top figures in the party, several members of the Republican national security community wrote an open letter describing Donald Trump’s “vision of American influence and power in the world” as “wildly inconsistent and unmoored in principle”.
“He swings from isolationism to military adventurism within the space of one sentence,” the letter said.
Donald Trump has sought to present himself as a “unifier”, after his victories in seven states on so-called Super Tuesday consolidated his position at the front of the race for his party’s nomination.
Mitt Romney, who has been a fierce critic of Donald Trump, is expected to warn in his speech on March 3 that his policies are a threat to the Republican Party and to the country as a whole.
“Here’s what I know: Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud,” Mitt Romney says, according to a leaked transcript of his remarks.
“His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University,” he is quoted as saying.
Mitt Romney will also warn that the nomination of Donald Trump would pave the way to the presidency for Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Donald Trump meanwhile accused Mitt Romney of having run “one of the worst races in presidential history” and “working with the establishment” to prevent a Republican win.
Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election to President Barack Obama.
Several GOP leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, have spoken out against Donald Trump’s controversial policies and positions in recent days.
Donald Trump’s latest controversy centers on his failure to disavow David Duke, a leader of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan, who endorsed him. He later said he had on several occasions in the past disavowed David Duke.
Paul Ryan said on March 1 that nominees “must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry. This party does not prey on people’s prejudices”.
Donald Trump rival Marco Rubio indicated in his speech on Super Tuesday that the Republican establishment was unlikely to back the former reality TV star.
According to the New York Times, some GOP donors are already trying to raise funds for an anti-Trump effort.
Ann Romney, the wife of former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has denied he will make a third bid for the White House, amid reports his backers are pressing him to run in 2016.
Ann Romney told NBC News her family was “done done done”.
Mitt Romney, a businessman and ex-Massachusetts governor, lost to Barack Obama in 2012 and ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination in 2008.
The 2016 Republican field is expected to be wide open.
Ann Romney has denied Mitt Romney will make a new bid for the White House in 2016
Democrat Barack Obama is barred by term limits from running again. With the future direction of the Republican Party being hotly debated, some Republican donors are pushing Mitt Romney to consider another presidential run.
A recent opinion poll suggested Mitt Romney led the field including Congressman Paul Ryan, Senator Rand Paul, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, among others.
On October 14, Ann Romney denied the family was even weighing a run, in an interview promoting the launch of a new neurological disease centre at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston bearing her name.
Ann Romney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a degenerative neurological disease, in 1998.
According to a recent Quinnipiac University survey, 44% of Americans think the US “would be better off than it is today” if Mitt Romney were president today, versus 38% who say the nation would be in worse shape.
Mitt Romney has denied any interest in another campaign
These numbers have stoked speculation on whether Mitt Romney could be considering another try for the presidency in 2016.
It would be an unusual move, as most defeated candidates in the general election tend to disappear from the national political scene – or at least give up on their presidential aspirations.
President Barack Obama has attended a memorial service for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing saying the attack’s perpetrators will be held accountable.
Barack Obama told an interfaith ceremony that everyone had been touched by the attack on their beloved city.
The president spoke as it emerged investigators had found clear video images of two potential suspects carrying black bags.
Two bombs were detonated near the finish line on Monday, killing three people and injuring more than 180.
There were several standing ovations as President Barack Obama spoke on Thursday at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the main Roman Catholic cathedral in Boston.
President Barack Obama has attended a memorial service for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing
Before his visit, the president declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts, which would allow the state to access federal funding to deal with the aftermath of the attacks.
Barack Obama appeared in sombre mood as he joined city leaders, residents and victims at the prayer service.
He told the congregation: “The spirit of this city is undaunted; the spirit of this country shall remain undimmed.
“Everyone of us has been touched by this attack on your beloved city. Everyone of us stands with you. Because after all it’s our beloved city too.”
“They sought to intimidate us, to terrorize us,” he said.
Then added: “It should be pretty clear by now that they picked the wrong city to do it.”
Barack Obama was applauded as he warned the perpetrators of the attacks they would be brought to justice.
“We will find you,” he said.
“We will hold you accountable.”
Hundreds of people stood outside the cathedral during the service, while police at the bomb site listened to the president’s speech on the radios in their patrol cars.
Former Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney also attended the prayer ceremony.
Barack Obama is later expected to meet emergency workers and the families of victims.
On Thursday Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the FBI wanted to speak to two men, but did not say they were suspects.
“There is some video that has raised the question of those that the FBI would like to speak with,” Janet Napolitano said.
“I wouldn’t characterize them as suspects under the technical term, but we do need the public’s help in locating these individuals.”
She did not give details of what was seen on the tape.
Janet Napolitano would not say whether the attacks were suspected to be the work of a domestic or foreign group, but said the investigation was continuing “apace”.
She added that security had been ramped up at airports and transport hubs.
The FBI has denied a flurry of reports on Wednesday that a suspect had been arrested.
Investigators are going through thousands of images taken around the time of the attacks from security cameras, the media and people at the scene.
Officials have not said if they would publicly release more details of the case.
Correspondents say authorities are cautious about publicizing the relevant images, after the release of pictures relating to a 1996 bombing at the Atlanta Olympics led to the arrest of an innocent security guard, Richard Jewell.
A circuit board and battery pack – parts of a triggering mechanism – has been recovered.
The lid of a pressure cooker, apparently blown off during the explosion, was found on the roof of a nearby building.
Officials say the bombs consisted of explosives in pressure cookers, one with shards of metal and ball bearings, the other with nails.
Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The twin blasts killed three people: Martin Richard, 8, Krystle Campbell, 29, and Lu Lingzi, a postgraduate student from China.
Dozens remain in hospital following the bombs, many of them seriously injured.
It is reported that 10 victims have had limbs amputated. Nails and ball bearings were said to be embedded in their flesh.
At least 14 bombing victims, including three children, remain in hospital in a critical condition.
Mitt Romney revealed today during his first interview since he lost US presidency that he believed in his heart he was going to win the election and go on to the White House, and that “it kills me” not to be president.
Former GOP candidate Mitt Romney, 65, said today in his first interview since losing the election that while he believed he was going to become commander-in-chief, early polling numbers spelled out trouble, and he began to have a “slow recognition” that Barack Obama would win once seeing that Florida was a close race.
In the interview with Fox News Sunday, Ann Romney, 64, also confirmed during the show that she was approached by ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, but turned it down, saying: “I would have loved to have done it…(but) I’m not really as flexible as I should be.”
The interview, led by Fox News’ Chris Wallace, was taped earlier this week, but aired Sunday morning.
It brushed upon Barack Obama’s second term, current events, and Mitt Romney’s newest grandchildren.
Mitt Romney reflected over his campaign, saying that he did not do a satisfactory job connecting with minority voters, and said that Republicans in general must strive to do better in appealing to black and Hispanic voters.
He later joked that he did better in his second run for the White House than he did the first time around – when he lost the 2008 nomination to Arizona Sen. John McCain. Regardless of his success making it as the GOP nomination, he said he won’t run for a third time.
Mitt Romney compared the experience of running for the presidency to riding a roller coaster. He told Chris Wallace: “We were on a roller coaster, exciting and thrilling, ups and downs.
“But the ride ends, and then you get off. And it’s not like, <<Oh, can’t we be on a roller coaster the rest of our life?>> It’s like, no, that ride’s over.”
Mitt Romney first interview since losing US election with Fox News Sunday
Mitt Romney’s wife Ann compared the experience to the service that the Romneys have carried out within the Mormon church.
“In our church, we’re used to serving and you know, you can be in a very high position, but you recognize you’re serving. And now all of a sudden, you’re released and you’re nobody. And we’re used to that. It’s like we came and stepped forward to serve.
“And you know, the other part of it was an amazing thing, and it was really quite a lot of energy and a lot of passion and a lot of – a lot of people around us and all of a sudden, it was nothing,” she said.
“But the good news is we like each other,” Ann Romney joked.
Sharing the next phase of their lives, the couple additionally took a moment to present their family’s latest additions after becoming grandparents to 20 children on Valentine’s Day.
Mitt and Ann Romney cradled their son Craig’s newborn twins before the cameras, one seen in a pink blanket and the other in blue.
The family has kept a low profile since Mitt Romney’s concession to President Barack Obama last November. The couple has been spotted doing ordinary things, such as going to see “Twilight” and, most recently, shopping for cereal at Target.
Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, lost to President Barack Obama by a margin of 332 to 206 electoral college votes.
He spent the month after the failed White House bid in solitude at his beachfront mansion in La Jolla, near San Diego, reflecting upon the campaign.
But almost four months on it is thought Mitt Romney is ready to return to public life and political debate.
Mitt Romney is also due to address the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington next month.
The White House has released a photograph showing the moment President Barack Obama learned he had won re-election against his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Taking the call perched on a chair at the Fairmont Millennium Park Hotel in Chicago, Barack Obama was apparently wished well by his defeated opponent.
The historic image was captured by the Obama administration’s photographer Pete Souza and was posted onto the official White House Flickr account for all to see.
Body language experts have had a field day with the signs that the just-triumphant president is giving off to the camera.
They claim that by perching on the back of the chair, Barack Obama is implicitly suggesting that he does not expect the telephone call to be a lengthy one.
Interpreting Barack Obama’s standing rather than sitting position, the experts have noted the two candidates frosty relationship and that the president is not sitting down to talk to his rival.
More obviously the president’s fingers are pressed to one of his ears, which may suggest that the room in the hotel is very noisy and that his re-election team have erupted in rapture.
Immediately after the telephone call, Mitt Romney began preparing his concession speech, having admitted beforehand that he did not have one ready expecting to win.
In his concession speech, Mitt Romney said that on the call with the president, he wished Barack Obama well, along with his family and staff.
“This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation,” said Mitt Romney.
The moment President Barack Obama learned he had won re-election against his Republican challenger Mitt Romney
During his acceptance speech, President Barack Obama also referenced his crushed rival, saying he “just spoke with Governor Romney and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign”.
“We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future,” said Barack Obama.
During his widely praised concession speech the former Massachusetts governor lost the race after nearly 17 months of fighting, including a prolonged primary race against rivals like Newt Gingrich, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain and the eventual runner-up Rick Santorum.
The Republican said that he and his vice presidential pick “left everything on the field”.
“At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the nation’s work,” Mitt Romney said.
He added: “I believe in America. I believe in the people of America. And I ran for office because I’m concerned about America. This election is over, but our principles endure. I believe that the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and to renewed greatness.”
In his defeat, Mitt Romney maintained that the only way for the country to succeed is if elected officials give politics a rest.
“We look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put people before the politics,” Mitt Romney said.
“I believe in America. I believe in the people of America… I ran for office because I’m concerned about America. This election is over, but our principles endure.”
Of Barack Obama, Mitt Romney said: “Ann and I will pray for him as he continues to lead this nation.”
Mitt Romney and his wife Ann were pictured shopping at their local bulk warehouse Costco near their home in La Jolla, California on Tuesday.
The couple stocked up on bottled water, pretzels, fruit snacks, Dixie cups and paper towels. Mitt and Ann Romney also seemed to be preparing for Christmas as their carts had a few rolls of gift wrap and a toy car that will likely be a present for one of their 18 grandchildren.
Overlooking no details, they even remembered to pick up a box of Bisquik for pancakes on Christmas morning.
The Romney’s fondness for the discount membership club is no secret, as they frequently talked about their trips to Costco during the campaign trail.
Cynical political analysts cried foul, saying that the they were trying to use their mentions of the budget store as a way to help lessen the public perception that the former governor was out of touch with the “common man” because of his great wealth.
The family’s affinity for the store seems genuine, however, as Ann Romney repeatedly boasted that it was the easiest- and most fiscally responsible- way to feed her large family.
When the couple’s five sons, their wives and all of their children come over for dinner, the total number of Romneys at the various dinner tables can easily add up to 30 people.
Mitt Romney and his wife Ann were pictured shopping at their local bulk warehouse Costco near their home in La Jolla
During an interview on the Rachael Ray show during the campaign, Ann Romney told the celebrity chef how she always has her route mapped out before she goes in the store.
“Wholesale shops are big, you have to go with a game plan before you start,” she said at the time.
During that appearance, Ann Romney talked a great deal about how she buys the store’s produce- both fresh and frozen- and stocks up on desserts.
But the pictures from their Tuesday trip to the California store reveal that she and Mitt Romney focused more on the non-perishables this time.
It looks like in addition to picking up some Christmas presents for the kids, the couple may have also gotten a puffy black jacket for Mitt Romney, as one was seen hanging off the side of his cart.
He tried to blend in during the trip, and was dressed casually in khaki shorts, a navy athletic shirt a baseball cap and sneakers, but his black sunglasses inside the store may have been a bit conspicuous.
Ann seemed relaxed but made less of an effort to blend in with the masses as she accessorized her black leisurewear with a hot pink scarf.
The former presidential candidate has laid low ever since he lost the election, relaxing with his family in La Jolla, taking time out to see the latest edition of the Twilight saga and accompanying his grandchildren to Disneyland.
Mitt Romney briefly popped back up on the political radar when he had lunch with President Barack Obama in the White House last week, though he did not speak to reporters after the meeting and only one joint photo was released.
As of Monday, Mitt Romney officially has an income again, since he announced yesterday that he will be re-joining the board of directors of the hotel chain, Marriott.
Board members receive an annual salary of $60,000 as well as $110,000 in company stock as compensation for their efforts.
Mitt Romney served on the board of the company from 1993 to 2002 when he resigned to serve as governor of Massachusetts.
He re-joined the board in 2009 and resigned again in January 2011 as the campaign heated up with the seemingly-unending process of Republican primaries.
Mitt Romney was spotted picking up a snack in a McDonald’s restaurant just ahead of a lunch in the White House with Barack Obama on Thursday.
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney meeting has already inspired dozens of internet memes speculating on what exactly went on.
The former governor of Massachusetts was photographed apparently buying a McFlurry milkshake, and the picture was then uploaded to social news website Reddit.
While it may seem strange to see the ultra-healthy 65-year-old chowing down on fast food, the Romney family has long had a strong connection to the McDonald’s franchise.
Mitt Romney’s father George, a businessman who was governor of Michigan, was given a card by McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc entitling him to eat at any of the chain’s restaurants for free for his whole life.
As well as the picture of Mitt Romney in McDonald’s, web users have clearly been amused by a photo of the losing Republican presidential candidate shaking hands with Barack Obama in the Oval Office, as Buzzfeednotes.
Photoshopped versions of the image have spread around the net, with some offering witty guesses about the strained conversation the two men might be enjoying, while others drew attention to the awkward presence of a White House staffer half-hidden behind a door in the background of the picture.
The pair met for lunch at the White House on Thursday, sitting down with an eye on overlapping interests rather than the sharp differences that defined their presidential contest.
In their first meeting since the election, Barack Obama and the Republican nominee met in the White House’s private dining room, fulfilling a promise Obama made in his victory speech the night of November 6.
Mitt Romney congratulated the president for the success of his campaign and wished him well over the coming four years, according to a description of the meeting from the White House.
“The focus of their discussion was on America’s leadership in the world and the importance of maintaining that leadership position in the future,” according to the description.
“They pledged to stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together on shared interests arise in the future.”
While they talked politics, the former foes munched on white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad.
Mitt Romney arrived at the White House early Thursday afternoon in a black SUV. He stepped out of the passenger side and walked into the West Wing alone.
Mitt Romney was spotted picking up a snack in a McDonald’s restaurant just ahead of a lunch in the White House with Barack Obama on Thursday
White House spokesman Jay Carney had earlier said Barack Obama had no specific agenda for the meeting, but he said the president wanted to discuss Mitt Romney’s ideas for making government more efficient. Barack Obama has proposed merging some functions of government related to business and has asked Congress for authority to undertake some executive branch reorganization.
“The president noted that Gov. Romney did a terrific job running the Olympics and that that skills set lends itself to ideas that could make the federal government work better, which is a passion of the president’s,” Jay Carney said.
Barack Obama aides said they reached out to Mitt Romney’s team shortly before Thanksgiving to start working on a date for the meeting. The two men were meeting alone in the White House’s private dining room, with no press coverage expected.
For Mitt Romney, it was a day of closure after a hard-fought campaign.
Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman who was his vice presidential running mate, met earlier in the day to talk about the pending fiscal cliff negotiations and other economic challenges facing Washington, a Ryan aide said. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the aide was not authorized to discuss the private discussions.
On a personal level, the pair discussed their families and talked about the harried 12 weeks of the general election campaign.
“I remain grateful to Gov. Romney for the honor of joining his ticket this fall, and I cherish our friendship,” Paul Ryan said in a statement after their meeting.
“I’m proud of the principles and ideas we advanced during the campaign and the commitment we share to expanding opportunity and promoting economic security for American families.”
Much of that debate centers on expiring tax cuts first enacted in the George W. Bush administration. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney differed sharply during the campaign over what to do with the cuts, with the Republican pushing for them to be extended for all income earners and the president running on a pledge to let the cuts expire for families making more than $250,000 a year.
The White House sees Barack Obama’s victory as a signal that Americans support his tax proposals.
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney’s sit-down Thursday was expected to be their most extensive private meeting to date. The two men had only a handful of brief exchanges before the 2012 election.
Even after their political fates became intertwined, their interactions were largely confined to the three presidential debates.
Mitt Romney has virtually disappeared from politics following his election loss. He’s spent the past three weeks largely in seclusion at his family’s Southern California home. He has made no public appearances, drawing media attention only after being photographed at Disneyland in addition to stops at the movies and the gym with his wife, Ann.
Barack Obama aides reached out to Mitt Romney shortly before Thanksgiving to start working on a date for the meeting.
“It was a gracious invitation from the president, which Mitt Romney was glad to accept,” a top Mitt Romney aide said.
The timing of Barack Obama’s meeting appears strategic, coming in the same week that he launched an aggressive campaign aimed at forcing Congress to accept his proposals to avert the fiscal cliff, a series of automatic tax increases and spending cuts that threaten to send the U.S. economy spiraling into a second recession.
The Congressional Budget Office has predicted that if the fiscal cliff is not avoided, the U.S. unemployment rate could rise to 9.1% by the end of next year, compared to 7.9% now.
Barack Obama is proposing that Congress end tax cuts for families making more than $250,000 a year, but Republicans are opposed to the idea.
While in Washington, Mitt Romney will meet with his former running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who is working on the Republican side of negotiations.
Mitt Romney has kept a low profile since his defeat, deliberately avoiding the political spotlight while many in the party distanced themselves from him in the days and weeks after the election, especially after a conference call with donors in which he said Barack Obama won the election because of ‘gifts’ he bestowed on constituencies like Hispanics, blacks and young people.
Photographs and sightings of Mitt Romney’s post-election lifestyle reveal that he is relishing a ‘normal’ existence after the grueling pace of the campaign.
He was spotted attending the movie Twilight with his wife and dining on pizza afterward. He was also photographed at Disneyland on roller coasters with his sons and grandchildren.
A motorist snapped a photo of Romney pumping gas recently and the former Massachusetts governor posted of photo of himself and Ann enjoying Thanksgiving together. Appearing scruffy and unkempt in a blue T-shirt, Mitt Romney had his arms wrapped around Ann in their kitchen as she appeared to be cooking.
But it was revealed on Wednesday that Mitt Romney might soon be returning to work in the private sector.
Mitt Romney’s former aides confirmed to the Associated Press that he is expected to move into an office at the Boston-area venture capital firm Solamere Capital, which was co-founded by his eldest son, Tagg, and Spencer Zwick, who served as his campaign’s national finance chairman.
He will not be working for Solamere, the Washington Post reports, but simply leasing an office space there.
Former senior aides to Mitt Romney have hit back at the “hypocrites” in the Republican party who just days before the election were clamoring for jobs in a Romney administration and are now belittling him.
“I’m sure Governor Romney is finding out now who his real friends are,” said a former adviser.
“There were one or two well-known figures who were late committing to support him, were the most eager to curry favor when it looked like we would win and are now out there trashing the governor.
“In politics, when you win you are a genius and when you lose everyone calls you an idiot. But to see the way certain craven hypocrites are acting right now really sticks in the craw.”
Speaking on MSNBC, Dan Senor, a former top foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney, accused some of the former Massachusetts supporters of being fair weather friends.
At a big event in Ohio just days before the election, he said, there were leading figures cozying up to Mitt Romney and trying to land cabinet positions.
“Tens of thousands of people, you could feel the energy, a hundred top-tier Romney surrogates were at the event,” he remembered.
“I’m backstage with some of them – I won’t mention their names – but they’re talking about Romney like he’s Reagan.
“<<His debate performances were the best performances of any Republican nominee in presidential history. He’s iconic>>. They were talking about him because they believed he was going to win in four or five days. And in fact, some of them were already talking to our transition to position themselves for a Romney cabinet.”
Mitt Romney aides blast Republican “hypocrites” like Bobby Jindal and Newt Gingrich
Within days, however, there was a “stunning” turnaround as the same people turned on Romney with a vengeance.
“They were on television, it was unbelievable, it was five, six days later, absolutely eviscerating him,” Dan Senor said.
But the other senior adviser, who declined to be named when criticizing senior Republicans, singled out Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Newt Gingrich as among those who had been quickest to lambast Mitt Romney.
After Mitt Romney told donors on a post-election conference call that many voted had plumped for President Barack Obama because he had offered them “gifts”, Bobby Jindal said Romney’s comments were “absolutely wrong”.
He said: “We have got to stop dividing American voters. We need to go after 100 per cent of the votes, not 53 per cent – we need to go after every single vote.”
That was a reference to Mitt Romney’s notorious “47 per cent” comments in which he said that proportion of voters was dependent on government and would inevitably back a Democrat.
Newt Gingrich called the “gifts” comments “nuts” and “insulting” to voters.
The anonymous adviser said: “Bobby Jindal wanted very, very much to be Vice President. He appeared publicly with Governor Romney after the 47 per cent comments, which the governor himself said were totally wrong.
“Newt Gingrich made it clear to us he wanted to be part of a Romney administration.
“Both these guys – and others – were the governor’s best friend when it seemed he was on the brink of becoming our 45th President. Now they’re calling him a bum. Real profiles in courage.”
In a conference call with his national finance committee on Wednesday, Republican Mitt Romney attributes his election loss to President Barack Obama’s “gifts” that he bestowed on minorities and young people during his first term.
Mitt Romney said Barack Obama’s win was buoyed in large part by loyal Democratic constituencies including the poor that he had promised “free health care”, the immigrants that he had protected from deportation and the college-aged women that he had offered free contraceptives.
“You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity? I mean, this is huge.”
“Likewise, with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus,” he added.
“But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called DREAM Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.”
Barack Obama announced in June that he would grant temporary amnesty to some children of undocumented immigrants who met certain requirements and had clean criminal records. The program resembled the DREAM Act, which had long been stalled in Congress.
Mitt Romney chided Barack Obama over the summer for waiting so long to address immigration reform, charging that his amnesty program was politically motivated.
“He saves these sort of things until four-and-a-half months before the general election,” Mitt Romney said in June on CBS’ Face the Nation.
“I think the timing is pretty clear. If he really wanted a solution that dealt with these kids or illegal immigration in America, then this is something he would have taken up in his first three-and-a-half years, not in his last few months.”
Now Mitt Romney is saying that the program is what persuaded Hispanics to support Barack Obama.
Mitt Romney attributes his election loss to Barack Obama’s gifts that he bestowed on minorities and young people during his first term
Mitt Romney won 59% of the white vote, while Barack Obama was backed by 93% of black voters, 71% of Latinos and 60% of voters younger than 30, according to exit polls.
He said that Barack Obama directed his campaign according to the “old playbook” of targeting specific groups with promises of legislation that would persuade them to vote a certain way.
“In each case they were very generous in what they gave to those groups,” Mitt Romney said.
“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest, was a big gift,” Mitt Romney said.
“Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people.
“They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008,” Mitt Romney said.
Similarly, Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s running mate, blamed the Republican ticket’s loss on high turnout among “urban” voters.
“I think the surprise was some of the turnout, some of the turnout especially in urban areas, which gave President Obama the big margin to win this race,” Paul Ryan told a television station in Wisconsin.
“When we watched Virginia and Ohio coming in, and those ones coming in as tight as they were, and looking like we were going to lose them, that’s when it became clear we weren’t going to win.”
Mitt Romney told his finance team that the sting of his loss was still too strong to begin mapping out his plans going forward for himself and for the Republican Party.
“I am very sorry that we didn’t win,” he said.
“I know that you expected to win. We expected to win… It was very close, but close doesn’t count in this business.”
Mitt Romney added: “And so now we’re looking and saying, <<O.K., what can we do going forward?>>. But frankly we’re still so troubled by the past, it’s hard to put together our plans from the future.”
Barack Obama’s “gifts”
Mitt Romney says President Barack Obama targeted blacks, Hispanics and young people with certain “gifts” including:
Obamacare’s provisions allowing children to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans through age 26
A program that caps federal student loan payments at 10% of income and forgives any remaining debt after 20 years of consistent payments
Temporary deportation exemptions granted to young illegal immigrants who meet certain requirements
Requirement that most employers provide health insurance covering birth control
More than 100,000 Americans have petitioned the White House to allow their states to secede from the US, after President Barack Obama’s re-election.
The appeals were filed on the White House’s We the People website.
Most of the 20 states with petitions voted for Republican Mitt Romney.
The US constitution contains no provisions for states to secede from the union. By Monday night the White House had not responded.
In total, more than 20 petitions have been filed. One for Texas has reached the 25,000-signature threshold at which the White House promises a response.
The last time states officially seceded, the US Civil War followed.
More than 100,000 Americans have petitioned the White House to allow their states to secede from the US, after President Barack Obama’s re-election
Most of the petitions merely quote the opening line of America’s Declaration of Independence from Britain, in which America’s founders stated their right to “dissolve the political bands” and form a new nation.
Currently, the most popular petition is from Texas, which voted for Mitt Romney by some 15 percentage points more than it did for the Democratic incumbent.
The text complains of “blatant abuses” of Americans’ rights.
It cites the Transportation Security Administration, whose staff has been accused of intrusive screening at airports.
The Secret Service was forced to foil repeated assassination attempts on Barack Obama and Mitt Romney during this year’s election campaign, it has been claimed.
An article in GQ made the startling assertion that “several assassination plots were nipped in the bud” by agents during the course of the campaign.
However, some are now skeptical about the claims, insisting that there were no more than a handful of attempts on the lives of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney this year.
Barack Obama, who has long been considered at risk from violent extremism partly because of his historic status as America’s first black President, is protected by a vast Secret Service detail at all times.
Mitt Romney was given official protection in January, as he was beginning to close in on the position of Republican presidential nominee.
His Secret Service detail was withdrawn early on Wednesday morning, just hours after he conceded defeat to Barack Obama.
The moment Mitt Romney’s agents left his side was detailed by GQ‘s Marc Ambinder, who reported that they were called off with the order: “Javelin, Jockey details, all posts, discontinue.”
He also dropped in the tantalizing tidbit: “Protectees were protected 100 per cent of the time. Several assassination plots were nipped in the bud.”
The Secret Service was forced to foil repeated assassination attempts on Mitt Romney and Barack Obama during election campaign
Over the past year, a number of people were reported to have been investigated by the Secret Service for issuing threats to either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.
While most of these threats turned out to be little more than ill-advised tweets born from frustration, a few warranted a more robust response.
Most notably, a group of four soldiers from Georgia hatched a convoluted plot to kill the President and overthrow the federal government.
However, Marc Ambinder’s comments led some to assume that he had information about other threats which were not already public knowledge.
He told Politicker: “There was that guy who shot at the White House from across the ellipse, and then the soldiers arrested for plotting the assassination of the president and others.”
But he added that he did not possess any inside information, defending his description of the multiple foiled threats.
Marc Ambinder later tweeted: “Press folks, please stop bothering the Secret Service. If there are/were other plots, they sure as hell didn’t tell me about them.”
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has been under fire from conservatives for his effusive praise of Barack Obama after Hurricane Sandy, telephoned the president after his election win but only sent an email to Mitt Romney, it was revealed today.
Chris Christie told reporters at a press conference on Thursday that he had talked to Barack Obama.
“We didn’t have a political strategy discussion,” he said.
“I said, <<Congratulations on your win last night, Mr. President>>, he said, <<Thank you>>.”
Asked about whether he had spoken to Mitt Romney, Chris Christie said: “No. We exchanged emails last night. We haven’t spoken on the phone yet.”
Chris Christie, who is up for re-election in New Jersey next year and is a likely 2016 presidential candidate, is partly blamed by some senior Mitt Romney aides for the Republican nominee’s defeat.
They believe that his outspoken commendations of Barack Obama helped create an aura of bipartisan appeal that was invaluable.
Stuart Stevens, Mitt Romney’s top strategist, has said that Mitt Romney was “winning this race by five or six points before Sandy” but “came out of Sandy one or two behind”.
Part of Mitt Romney’s post-Sandy drop was due to his being all but absent from the television screens for three to four days. But conservatives have been quick to condemn Chris Christie, a one-time vice-presidential possibility for Mitt Romney, for what they regard as a deliberate undermining of the former Massachusetts governor.
When Chris Christie was asked at the time by Fox News if Mitt Romney had any plans to visit New Jersey, he said: “I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested. I’ve got a job to do here in New Jersey that’s much bigger than presidential politics, and I could care less about any of that stuff.”
Governor Chris Christie telephoned Barack Obama after his election win but only sent an email to Mitt Romney
In an opinion article entitled “Excommunicating Chris Christie”, Brett Decker of the Washington Times blasted Chris Christie as a moderate on guns, climate change and social issues and as being either “politically tone-deaf” or “purposely” trying to help Barack Obama.
“Mr. Christie handed Mr. Obama a big gift in the form of photo-ops, public hugs and gratuitously complimentary statements about the opposing party’s standard bearer.”
On Wednesday, Chris Christie appeared to be at pains to deny that he had been anything other than completely supportive of Mitt Romney.
“I wouldn’t call what I did an embrace of Barack Obama,” he said at a Wednesday press conference.
“I know that’s become the wording of it, but the fact of the matter is, you know, I’m a guy who tells the truth all the time.
“And if the president of the United States did something good, I was gonna say he did something good and give him credit for it.
“But it doesn’t take away for a minute the fact that I was the first governor to endorse Mitt Romney, that I travelled literally tens of thousands of miles for him, raised tens of millions of dollars for him and worked harder, I think, than any other surrogate in America other than Paul Ryan, who became his running mate.”
According to the Huffington Post, Chris Christie declined an invitation by Romney to an event in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, some three miles away across the Delaware river from Trenton, New Jersey’s capital, in the final week of the campaign.
While this was seen by some as a snub, the political downside of Chris Christie appearing at a political rally when many in New Jersey were still suffering extreme hardship after Hurricane Sandy would have made any appearance unlikely.
Responding to the story, Chris Christie lambasted the “know-nothing, disgruntled Romney staffers” who had made the accusation.
He added that he had told Mitt Romney before Hurricane Sandy hit that he would probably not be available for the rest of the campaign.
“I said to him, <<Listen, Mitt, if this storm hits the way I think it’s going to, I’m off the campaign trail from here to Election Day>>,” he recalled.
“And he said to me, <<Chris, of course. That’s what you have to do. Do your job. Don’t worry about me. I’ll take care of things>>.
“So all this other noise, I think, is coming from know-nothing, disgruntled Romney staffers who, you know, don’t like the fact that I said nice things about the president of the United States. Well, that’s too bad for them.”
It’s been a long slog of a campaign and many Americans – whether their favored candidate won or lost – are just relieved it’s over. Here are 10 signs Election Day has been and gone.
1. No-one cares about Ohio
Once every four years, the state finds itself at the centre of the political universe, before dropping off the map. Ohio is often the butt of American jokes – seen as the embodiment of a Midwestern backwater. But as the election draws near, the world’s media descends, and commentators talk breathlessly about how “it’s all about Ohio”.
“People enjoy it,” says Fred Andrle, a former talk show host in Ohio. Most of the time, “we are considered fly-over people”.
Ohio law student Andrew Gordon-Seifert, 24, appreciated the attention – not least from the candidates themselves. But he says: “There’s a sentiment of cynicism – they realized how important we are to getting elected, but will they be there for us in the future?”
2. Mattress ads back on television
There were more than one million campaign ad airings in this presidential campaign – almost double that in 2008 and 2004. It has been a bonanza in terms of ad revenues for TV stations, but now the adverts have returned to staple subjects like mattresses, a dog’s arthritis or erectile dysfunction. Answering the phone has become a whole lot easier for those in swing states too – if there is a call, it is probably a real person.
3. The polling addicts are in detox
There are lots of “poll junkies” out there, says self-confessed addict Daniel Hamermesh, who teaches economics at the University of Texas at Austin and Royal Holloway in London. With a habit of checking the latest polls at least four times a day, he set himself the target of going cold turkey up to Election Day. He lasted just three days.
“I fell off the damn wagon,” he says.
But with the election over, he says he’s coping fine: “The thing that caused the addiction is gone – it’s as if there has been a tobacco blight, and the tobacco is gone,” he says.
“My wife is happy to have me back more full-time.”
4. All the news is about this cliff thing
Lots of things get put on ice during election season, but this one will have to come out of the freezer soon. The “fiscal cliff” refers to a deadline of December 31st for Congress to agree on spending levels and tax rates. The Fitch ratings agency recently called it the “single biggest near-term threat to a global economic recovery”. The word “bipartisanship” is one that has come out of the deep-freeze in the last couple of days. It will be needed.
Ten signs Election Day is over
5. You only read Buzzfeed for pictures of cats
Once upon a time, Buzzfeed was a site devoted to cats playing the piano, photos of kids with weird haircuts, and 90s nostalgia. But then Politico whiz-kid Ben Smith came on board just in time for the drama of the 2012 election. Suddenly the site known for articles like This Grandma And Her Cat Are The Cutest Best Friends Ever and 9 Most Controversial Salads was a must-read for political junkies, with trenchant articles from a stable of talented reporters, putting forward a mix of breaking scoops and in-depth features. They’re probably still doing all that stuff, but now that the election is over, you’re more interested in those salads.
6. Joe Biden stops emailing you
You can open your inbox without it being full of emails from the candidates or their campaign teams, usually exhorting you to dig deep into your pockets or give up some time to get people out to vote.
Mitt Romney’s final email on Election Day began with the words: “Friend, Polls are open for a few more hours. Your vote, and your outreach efforts, will determine the outcome. America’s future is up to you.”
7. Celebrities go back to selling you their perfume, not their political views
Celebrity endorsements have been a staple in American politics for some time, and this year was no exception. Barack Obama managed to muster a longer line-up, with more A-listers, but the celebrity moment of the campaign definitely goes to Clint Eastwood for his soliloquy to an empty chair at the Republican National Convention. That may well be remembered, but the B-and-C-listers will vanish back into oblivion.
8. Election tat is piling up
It will be decades before the bog-standard mugs, badges, bumper stickers and posters of this campaign gain any significant value as collectors’ items, says Steve Ferber an expert on political memorabilia. Campaigns have begun to charge for things which used to be given away for free, he says. There has also been an “amazing increase” in buyers from abroad, he says – especially from the UK, Germany and Australia, who are keen on Barack Obama items.
9. You can say what you like on Facebook
Election time can create some awkward moments with friends and family on the other side of the political divide. Student Andrew Gordon-Seifert says most of the political chat among his friends was on Facebook, and things could get testy at times, with inflammatory political posts, and angry ripostes. He took care about what he would say politically – both online and in person – to keep the temperature down. Now it’s over, “we can get back to not being so divided”, he says.
10. The talk is all about 2016
In-between the fierce recriminations and soul-searching among the Republican Party, is speculation on who will run for the presidency in 2016 (Hillary Clinton versus Jeb Bush, is Politico‘s prediction). This future-gazing actually begins a few days before Election Day, says Karlyn Bowman with the conservative think tank, American Enterprise Institute.
“We’re polled out. Everyone is so exhausted, that people just want to turn to something new,” she says.
Many who live and breathe politics are now – with their source of sustenance suddenly gone – feeling a little deflated now, she says.
But the main sentiment is a kind of collective phew: “Everyone will say a prayer – not just for Thanksgiving, but that the campaign is over.”
President Barack Obama will make a statement on the economy later, setting the stage for a political showdown over a looming budget crisis.
Barack Obama is expected to discuss the so-called fiscal cliff, a package of tax rises and spending cuts due early next year unless Congress acts.
Budget analysts warn the US will tip into recession unless a deal is struck.
Barack Obama has repeatedly called for the wealthy to pay more taxes, but such a plan is anathema to Republicans.
The fiscal cliff would see Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of 2012, combined with automatic, across-the-board reductions to military and domestic spending.
The International Monetary Fund has repeatedly warned that failure by US lawmakers to reach a deal would deepen uncertainty over the global economy.
Investor concerns over the issue have been partly blamed for two straight days of losses on financial markets.
John Boehner, leader of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, told ABC News on Thursday: “Raising tax rates is unacceptable.
“Frankly, it couldn’t even pass the House. I’m not sure it could pass the Senate.”
John Boehner reiterated his opposition to tax rises in a news conference on Friday morning.
He spoke shortly before Barack Obama was due to deliver his statement from the East Room of the White House at 13:05.
Barack Obama is expected to discuss the so-called fiscal cliff, a package of tax rises and spending cuts due early next year unless Congress acts
The president’s statement could set the tone for his second-term working relationship with Republicans, whom he has battled repeatedly over the last four years.
A White House official said the president’s oft-stated call for tax rises on the wealthy has been vindicated by his resounding victory over Republican challenger Mitt Romney in Tuesday’s election.
“One of the messages that was sent by the American people throughout this campaign is … [they] clearly chose the president’s view of making sure that the wealthiest Americans are asked to do a little bit more in the context of reducing our deficit in a balanced way,” senior White House adviser David Plouffe was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.
Barack Obama’s position has been that taxes should rise on earnings above $250,000.
John Boehner says his party is willing to countenance cutting loopholes and special exemptions, but only in exchange for an overhaul of the tax code.
Republican lawmakers also want cuts to federal healthcare programmes such as Medicare, Medicaid and food-stamp assistance for the poor.
A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report published on Thursday warned that the US economy would fall back into recession if no deal were struck on the fiscal cliff.
The analysis projected that the package of tax rises and spending cuts would cut the ballooning US deficit by $503 billion through to next September, but also shrink the economy by 0.5% and cost millions of jobs.
Meanwhile, as Barack Obama turns his attention to shaping a second term in office his administration is expected to undergo a shake-up in the coming weeks.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defence Secretary Leon Panetta and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner are among those expected to leave their posts.
Speculation has been swirling in Washington over possible replacements, with Democratic Senator John Kerry among those tipped as a substitute for Hillary Clinton.
Meanwhile, Republicans are trying to find out what went wrong their presidential election campaign.
The party’s officials said they would poll voters extensively in battleground states, as well as holding focus groups and discussions with supporters.
The review would not attempt to alter the party’s ideological base, Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer told the Washington Post.
“This is no different than a patient going to see a doctor,” Sean Spicer said.
What is the fiscal cliff?
• Under a deal reached last year between President Barack Obama and the Republican-controlled Congress, existing stimulus measures – mostly tax cuts – will expire on 1 January 2013
• Cuts to defence, education and other government spending will then automatically come into force – the “fiscal cliff” – unless Congress acts
• The economy does not have the momentum to absorb the shock from going over the fiscal cliff without going into recession