CNN's State of the Union panel weighs in on the IRS targeting Tea Party groups controversy.
Romney camp. senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom says his candidate's tax returns are not a legitimate campaign issue.
"Look, taxes are not an issue. It is not what the American people are talking about."
By Candy Crowley, CNN Chief Political Correspondent
Washington (CNN) - Spoiler alert: The Senate on Monday will not get the 60 votes needed to move ahead with the so-called Buffett Rule, which makes critics think the White House spent a week pushing it just to make a political point.
Shocking, we know.
It's also the kind of icky suggestion serious treasury secretaries don't like to talk about.
"I don't know - I've heard that concern, but I don't understand it. I mean, just because they oppose this doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do," Timothy Geithner said on CBS' "Face the Nation."
State of the Union Highlights
It was a big morning of breaking news today on State of the Union. After deadly tornadoes swept through the Midwest overnight, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback gave Candy an update on the damage done in his state.
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan the Taliban launched a coordinated series of attacks in Kabul and across the country. First on CNN, ISAF Spokesman Jimmie Cummings praised the response of Afghan National Security Forces to the attacks.
Also first on CNN, Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker spoke to Candy while his embassy in Kabul was on lockdown. He said that the attacks showed that the US still needed a military presence in Afghanistan.
After a week in which the “War on Women” was at the forefront of political discourse, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Rep. Carolyn Maloney discussed the politics of gender.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus downplayed the potential impact of the so-called Buffett Rule and questioned President Obama’s priorities in promoting it.
Reince Priebus RNC Chairman on Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, the Buffett rule, and the 2012 race.
On the Buffett Rule, Priebus said "This is Obama's strategy. Look over here at this shiny object here. Don't look at the big picture, an economy on the brink that I didn't do a thing about and made things worse. That's what this is about."
On the presumptive GOP nominee, Preibus said "Mitt Romney had a great month and he's clearly on a pathway to be the presumptive nominee and we're going to have a unified party when this is all said and done. ... I think people around this country know that this election is about the future of America, and we want to be able to tell people that you can work hard, you can play by the rules and you can still live the American dream, but we need to have a Republican in the White House."
Here are some stories we’re following today:
Payroll tax cut: President Obama has hit the campaign trail and ramped up his rhetoric; he says he’ll forego his annual Hawaiian vacation to stay in Washington until Congress passes an extension of last year’s payroll tax holiday. Failure to extend the cuts would mean the average American family would see an additional $1000 taken out of their paychecks in 2012. With less than three weeks until the new year, Congress continues to battle over this legislation.
Debate night: A string of new polls this week confirm Newt Gingrich as the current GOP frontrunner. His surge couldn’t have come at a better time, with only three and a half weeks until the Iowa caucuses. Gingrich and the other leading Republican presidential candidates will take the stage on Saturday for another presidential debate. After being knocked off his top-of-the-pack perch, will Mitt Romney go on the attack?
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