Weekend in politics: ‘Fiscal cliff,’ football, shaving, and more

Joel Roberts
The Ticket

There's some reason Friday for optimism in the ongoing "fiscal cliff" negotiations — at least, optimism that the two sides will actually side down and negotiate about the potentially devastating tax increases and spending cuts that will automatically take effect in January if no deal is reached.

While no formal discussions have been scheduled, both the White House and congressional Republicans hinted Thursday that they have resumed low-level private talks aimed at breaking the impasse. Spokesmen for President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner both suggested, in nearly identical words, that the "lines of communication were open."

A day after President Obama visited with a middle-class family in northern Virginia to highlight the impact of "going over the cliff," Vice President Joe Biden plans a similar meeting Friday with an as yet undisclosed group of middle-class Americans.

In non-fiscal cliff news, President Obama will sign the Child Protection Act, aimed at protecting victims of child pornography, sexual abuse and trafficking, in the Oval Office on Friday.

On Saturday, Biden and Second Lady Dr Jill Biden will attend the annual Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia.

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Today is also the 71st anniversary of Japan's attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor. President Obama marked the occasion earlier this week with a presidential proclamation, calling for all flags to fly at half staff on Friday and asking all Americans to honor armed forces members and veterans.

And then there is this: The final price tag for the 2012 presidential election is in. According to federal finance reports released Thursday, the campaign cost more than $2 billion, making it the most expensive in U.S. political history.

And also this: Obama senior strategist David Axelrod is shaving off the mustache he's worn for decades on Friday morning on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." It's part of a fundraising effort that's brought in more than $1 million for epilepsy research.