Scott Neuman

President Obama unveiled a spending plan aimed at trimming $4 trillion from the deficit over the next decade, while boosting spending to programs to stimulate the still-ailing U.S. economy.

"At a time when our economy is growing and creating jobs at a faster pace, our job is to keep things on track," Obama told an audience at a Northern Virginia community college.

"I am proposing some difficult cuts that frankly, I wouldn't be proposing if I didn't have to," he said.

But he said, the nation could not simply cut its way to growth.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasted no time in pointing the finger at Iran for the explosion of a diplomat's vehicle in India and an alleged attempted car bombing in Georgia.

It could be weeks before anyone knows exactly how singer Whitney Houston died, but that didn't stop fellow superstars at last night's Grammys from remembering her life and accomplishments.

LL Cool J, Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Wonder were among the performers who honored Houston, 48, whose body was found Saturday in a bathtub in her Beverly Hills hotel room.

Jennifer Hudson paid tribute to Houston with the late singer's signature "I Will Always Love You".

Spin Magazine wrote:

It was the calm after the storm in Athens today after a night of riots sparked by a new round of painful austerity measures.

The $26 billion deal Thursday reached by the federal government, most states and the nation's largest banks to compensate homeowners for abusive foreclosure practices was hailed as a landmark agreement. But it's unlikely to end the mortgage mess that has depressed property values and left millions of homeowners owing more than their homes are worth, analysts say.

The late conservative writer William F. Buckley Jr. once said that "idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive."

That seems to be the political calculation being made by President Obama and his campaign team when it comes to opposing superPACs.

Most of the tents are gone, the parks are empty and nearly 99 percent of Occupy Wall Street's 99 percenters have gone home.

But even as the occupation enters a denouement, the nationwide movement sparked in September can claim a huge victory in the battle of ideas. Occupy has spoken, and Americans have listened.

Subjects that were largely taboo on Wall Street, Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue just six months ago have moved to center stage. Higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Capping the cost of higher education. Corporate greed.

In election season, conventional wisdom holds that a costly, drawn-out primary fight hurts a nominee in the general election.

It's a notion that appeals to common sense. After all, the thinking goes, if a boxer endures nine rounds with a formidable challenger and immediately steps back into the ring with a well-rested heavyweight, that can't be good.

Mitt Romney has filed his tax returns — to the voters. And to no one's surprise, the former Massachusetts governor, private equity firm exec and GOP presidential contender makes a tidy sum.

A few weeks ago, Mike Wendlinger bought himself a Christmas present — a Nook Simple Touch e-book reader. And when he did, he joined a wave of Americans who have combined to make e-readers and their more powerful bretheren, tablet computers, into genuine mass market devices.

The arrests of four executives of Megaupload, a major Internet file-sharing site, have triggered an online backlash, and raised fresh questions about electronic piracy and copyright violations. What's behind the controversy? NPR asked two experts to help clarify the facts behind the arrests.

What do you do with a 1,000-foot wreck that's full of fuel and half-submerged on a rocky ledge in the middle of an Italian marine sanctuary? Remove it. Very carefully.

The wreck of the cruise liner Costa Concordia, which ran aground last week, is not unlike a car accident. The first order of business is determining whether it's worth repairing or it gets junked. Then there are the questions of how best to go about it – and who pays.

The power of the pardon can redress an overly harsh sentence or a wrongful conviction. It can also prove to be a political landmine.

Exhibit A: Outgoing Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour's sweeping 11th-hour orders granting clemency to more than 200 people, ranging from convicted murderers to the brother of NFL great Brett Favre, who had his record cleared in connection with a 1997 conviction on manslaughter charges.

Tuesday was an exciting night for Mitt Romney in New Hampshire. In mid-Ohio, not so much.

By about 9 a.m. Wednesday, the bankruptcy of a local barbecue restaurant chain was one of several stories ranked higher in the "most popular stories" list on The Columbus Dispatch's website than anything coming out of the GOP primary.

For many people, the election so far just hasn't been that interesting — and it might be even less so if Romney again rakes in the chips in South Carolina next week, adding to the perception that his nomination is virtually a done deal.

When it comes to unemployment reports in an election year, it's not just the data — it's also the spin.

Friday's jobs report could be seen as good news — at 8.5 percent, it's the lowest in three years. Good news for President Obama? Not according to Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who lost no time in pointing out that the number is still above 8 percent — the figure that the president said would be the worst case under his 2009 stimulus package.

Iowa proved a road to victory for Mitt Romney, but it was a road to nowhere for Michele Bachmann.

"Last night, the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice, and so I have decided to stand aside," Bachmann said Wednesday at a West Des Moines news conference. The Minnesota congresswoman decided to end her 2012 presidential bid after finishing sixth in Tuesday's caucuses in Iowa — the state where she was born and where, just five months ago, she won a Republican straw poll in Ames.

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