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Week In The News: The West And Russia, Obama Meets The Pope, Hobby Lobby, Mudslide

Russia and the West. Contraception and the Supreme Court. President Obama and the Pope.  Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Pope Francis and President Barack Obama smile as they exchange gifts, at the Vatican Thursday, March 27, 2014. President Barack Obama called himself a "great admirer" of Pope Francis as he sat down at the Vatican Thursday with the pontiff he considers a kindred spirit on issues of economic inequality. Their historic first meeting comes as Obama's administration and the church remain deeply split on issues of abortion and contraception. (AP)

Pope Francis and President Barack Obama smile as they exchange gifts, at the Vatican Thursday, March 27, 2014. President Barack Obama called himself a “great admirer” of Pope Francis as he sat down at the Vatican Thursday with the pontiff he considers a kindred spirit on issues of economic inequality. Their historic first meeting comes as Obama’s administration and the church remain deeply split on issues of abortion and contraception. (AP)

Russia and the West front and center this week, as President Obama rallies with Europe and Russian troops shadow Ukraine’s border.  No game-change, and the President moves on to see the pope and the Saudi king.  The Obamacare sign-up deadline gets squishy, but six million signed up, they say.  The Supreme Court looks at whether corporations have religion.  A wall of mud takes out the tiny town of Oso.  We’ve got a ruling that college athletes can unionize.  A death sentence for 500 in Egypt.  Chris Christie, “conscious uncoupling”, and still no plane.  This hour On Point:  Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Robert Costa, national political reporter for the Washington Post. (@costareports)

Margaret Brennan, CBS News foreign policy correspondent. (@margbrennan)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: Rand Paul builds 50-state network, courts mainstream support for presidential bid — “Rand Paul’s nationwide organization, which counts more than 200 people, includes new backers who have previously funded more traditional Republicans, along with longtime libertarian activists. Paul, of Kentucky, has also been courting Wall Street titans and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who donated to the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, attending elite conclaves in Utah and elsewhere along with other GOP hopefuls.”

CBS News: U.S. sanctions on Russia causing real pain, Treasury official says — “While Russian President Vladimir Putin used troops to seize Crimea and positioned his military along the Ukrainian border, the Obama administration’s strongest weapon against him has been financial sanctions. The White House fired twice this week: banning travel and freezing accounts of individuals, some of whom did not have assets in the U.S. A tougher round of sanctions on Thursday sanctioned 20 of Putin’s closest aides and blacklisted a bank that holds many of their personal accounts.”

The Wall Street Journal: The Individual Mandate Goes Poof – “The individual mandate had the least effect on those it was supposed to encourage to gain coverage—the uninsured. McKinsey & Co. surveys found that a little over one-quarter of people signing up for coverage last month were previously uninsured.Goldman Sachs  analysts estimate that about one million uninsured Americans will sign up for the ObamaCare exchanges before open enrollment ends. For perspective, that’s about 2% of the 48 million uninsured.”

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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)

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