Christmas Eve Day. There’s no other day like it.
▪ “Certainly, we’re looking at it.” — Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle on Tuesday saying she agrees with Gov. Sam Brownback’s call to examine the school-finance formula.
Wagle, a Republican from Wichita, said education is “gobbling” up a huge share of the budget. The state, she said, can’t continue “with automatic increases” to the formula. Democratic Senate leader Anthony Hensley said the issue is the chronic under-funding of the school budget.
▪ “You could argue that the world is vastly changed, and it certainly is not to the benefit of democracy, freedom or America's role in the world.” — Arizona Sen. John McCain, a Republican, on President Barack Obama’s record as a statesman.
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McCain is about to become chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, a position that will give him a significant platform on foreign policy issues. He’s been stoutly critical of the president’s international policies, and that criticism is expected to continue.
▪ “Cuba provides exciting prospects as an export market for the world-class goods produced by Missouri farmers.” — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announcing Tuesday that he’s directed the state Agriculture Department to explore the potential for more trade with Cuba.
Ag Director Richard Fordyce called the change in U.S. policy toward Cuba an “historic opportunity for Missouri.” Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran and others view it the same way.
▪ “It looked like they were taking a clipboard and phone book and just filling them all out.” — Missouri GOP political operative Jeff Roe on the collection of what appears to be fake signatures on a petition seeking early voting. (link via johncombest.com).
Roe, who opposes the initiative, said he was convinced that there is “widespread fraud” in connection with the gathering of signatures. He said the way to ensure that this doesn’t happen again is to send a strong message to signature gatherers by prosecuting the perpetrators.
▪ “Indeed, 2014 was a breakthrough year for the United States across a wide range of metrics important to middle-class families.” — Jason Furman, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, on the news Tuesday that the nation’s gross domestic product grew at a 5-percent clip in the third quarter, the strongest single quarter since 2003.
Americans are feeling more bullish these days about the economy. A new CNN poll out Tuesday concluded that more than half of Americans think the economy is in good shape. That’s a big jump from October when just 38 percent of Americans described the economy as in decent shape.