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Week In The News: New Pope, Dueling Budgets, Steubenville

Pope Francis. Paul Ryan and dueling budgets.  The Steubenville rape case goes to trial. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

A worshiper holds up the front page of a magazine showing a photograph of Jorge Mario Bergoglio during celebrations outside the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. (AP)

A worshiper holds up the front page of a magazine showing a photograph of Jorge Mario Bergoglio during celebrations outside the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. (AP)

Pope-a-pa-looza this week, and Catholics emerge with a humble-voiced man from Argentina – and hope.  Pope Francis.

In Afghanistan, a rough welcome for Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.  Bombs and bombast.  In Washington, dueling budget visions.  Paul Ryan is back, to balance it, he says.  Democrats say that’s not job one.

The big gulp ban in New York gets a judicial “no.”  Knives on the plane get blowback.  China’s new leader takes full power.  President Obama comes to Capitol Hill.

This hour, On Point: our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Guests

Amy Walter, national editor of the Cook Political Report. (@amyewalter)

Kelly O’Donnell, Capitol Hill correspondent for NBC News. (@kellyo)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

CBS News “Pope Francis began his first morning as pontiff by praying Thursday at Rome’s main basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary, a day after cardinals elected him the first pope from the Americas in a bid to revive a Catholic Church in crisis and give it a preacher with a humble touch.”

The Atlantic “Paul Ryan unveiled the House Republican budget this week with an ominous yet familiar warning: ‘America’s national debt is over $16 trillion.’ Having stated the problem, he then offered a solution, one which differed only marginally from what he’s offered the past two years. Namely: restrain government healthcare spending on Medicare and Medicaid, reform the individual tax code, close loopholes, lower corporate taxes, and promote natural gas and energy independence. The goal? A balanced budget by 2023 that will ensure ‘the well-being of all Americans…and reignite the American dream.'”

The Columbus Dispatch (Senator Rob Portman) “I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married. That isn’t how I’ve always felt. As a congressman, and more recently as a senator, I opposed marriage for same-sex couples. Then something happened that led me to think through my position in a much deeper way.”

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ONPOINT
TODAY
Dec 19, 2014
Alan Gross, waves as he and his wife Judy leave following his statement at his lawyer's office in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Gross was released from Cuba after 5 years in a Cuban prison. (AP)

Cuba reset. Russia’s rubble troubles. School massacre in Pakistan. Jeb explores 2016. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Dec 19, 2014
Soledad, and from left, Nina Pastori, and Lila Downs perform on stage at the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year Tribute honoring Joan Manuel Serrat at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP)

From crossover hits to hip-hop to soul, we look at a big year in the wide world of Latin music.

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Dec 18, 2014
A poster for the movie "The Interview" is carried away by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP)

A big Sony hack gets weirder and wider. And Hollywood and Homeland Security are on edge.

 
Dec 18, 2014
This handout photo from the Twitter account of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. shows Alan Gross arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. The US and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War, American officials said Wednesday. (AP)

Following months of secret talks the US will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than fifty years.

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