CNN Radio News Day: December 20, 2012
(L-R) Sen. James Risch (R-ID), Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) listen to testimony during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the September 11th attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, on Capitol Hill, December 20, 2012 in Washington, DC.
December 20th, 2012
04:31 PM ET

CNN Radio News Day: December 20, 2012

  CNN Radio News Day is an evening news program providing an informative, thoughtful and creative look at the day's events. It's posted Monday through Friday at 4:30 pm ET.

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(CNN) – Welcome to CNN Radio News Day.

  • Congressional hearings into the deadly September 11 attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya kicked-off Thursday.  The hearings follow the release of a scathing report that found "systemic failures" and "leadership and management deficiencies" regarding embassy security.  The report was commissioned by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who postponed testimony at the hearings due to illness.  CNN Foreign Affairs reporter Elise Labott says right off the bat, top deputies of Secretary Clinton were contrite:

" ...and there's really not much more you can do with such a scathing report, except eat the crow and call it caviar."

  • Early in the week there appeared to be significant progress in the pesky fiscal cliff negotiations.  But now – another stoppage of play.  Republicans are pushing a separate 'Plan B'.  And Democrats are insisting it won't go anywhere.  But CNNRadio's Senior Congressional Correspondent,  Lisa Desjardins says both sides privately say a deal is closer than it appears.   And it can get done inside the tight deadline window of less than two weeks to go:

"These guys are masters of getting things done at the last-minute."

  • Today is expected to be the busiest day of the year for shipping company UPS, with some 28 million packages delivered.  Many of the boxes landing on doorsteps include Christmas presents that were bought online – tax-free.  And proponents of an internet sales tax hope this will be the last holiday season shoppers can take advantage of what they say is an unfair tax break.  A 1992 Supreme Court ruling exempted mail-order products shipped across state lines from sales tax.  Jason Brewer with the Retail Industry Leaders Association says it's an issue of fairness:

"If a main street retailer is required to collect a sales tax, then an online retailer should be required to collect the same sales tax on the same purchase."

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