National news briefs: 1/26/13
President Barack Obama, with current White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, right, announces Friday that he will name current Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough, left, as his next chief of staff.
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Gun control parley held
RICHMOND, Va. -- Vice President Joe Biden took the White House's efforts to enact sweeping new gun proposals to the heart of Virginia on Friday, vowing to continue traveling the country to press the administration's case for immediate action in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
"We cannot remain silent as a country," Mr. Biden said after a discussion with officials from Virginia Tech University that centered on improvements in the background check system after a deadly shooting massacre there, as well as addressing the role of mental health in gun violence.
The vice president made a specific push for the president's call for universal background checks, the element of the gun control package that officials feel has the most chance of passage. The background-check plan "in no way impacts upon someone's ability under the Constitution to own a gun," he said.
Obama names chief of staff
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama announced Friday that his new chief of staff is longtime trusted aide Denis McDonough, whom the president described as a close friend unafraid to deliver straight talk.
Mr. McDonough has been a longtime foreign policy adviser to the president and is popular among the White House staff. Mr. Obama made the announcement in the East Room of the White House with McDonough and outgoing chief of staff Jack Lew, who has been nominated as treasury secretary, at his side.
Other senior personnel shifts were made Friday, including the appointment of Obama chief congressional lobbyist Rob Nabors as Mr. McDonough's deputy for policy. Vice President Joe Biden's national security adviser, Tony Blinken, is taking over Mr. McDonough's post as deputy national security adviser.
President, Clinton interview
NEW YORK -- The White House says President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will give their first joint interview to the television news show "60 Minutes," and it will air Sunday.
Ms. Clinton is soon to leave her post as secretary of state, and already she is being mentioned as a possible presidential candidate for 2016.
Sen. Chambliss retiring
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., who helped lead efforts to find a bipartisan deficit reduction compromise, announced Friday that he would retire at the end of 2014, a decision likely to set off a battle on the Republican Party's right flank for a successor.
Mr. Chambliss lifted his public stature in 2011 as one of three Republican senators in the "Gang of Six" hashing out a deficit reduction plan that the group hoped would capture broad appeal.
Also in the nation ...
A Florida appeals court Friday threw out two of the four convictions that Casey Anthony faced for lying to law enforcement during the investigation into her daughter's disappearance in 2008. ... A Minnesota man, Kirill Bartashevitch, 51, of St. Paul, threatened his daughter with an AK-47 rifle Jan. 17 because she was getting two B's in school rather than straight A's, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.
First Published January 26, 2013 12:00 am