Sunday Breakfast Menu, Dec. 29

Sunday's Breakfast MenuStephen Crowley/The New York Times

The political talk shows will air their final editions of the year on Sunday, mostly looking back at a couple of issues that dominated the news in 2013 and won’t likely be forgotten in the new year.

In June, Edward J. Snowden, a former contractor for the National Security Agency, released documents that revealed the extent to which the N.S.A. collects information about Americans’ phone and e-mail communications. On Wednesday, Mr. Snowden appeared on British television to warn about the dangers of this kind of surveillance.

CBS’s “Face the Nation” will discuss the N.S.A. revelations with Barton Gellman, a Washington Post reporter to whom Mr. Snowden leaked documents, Jesselyn Radack, one of Mr. Snowden’s legal advisers and Thomas Drake, a former N.S.A. whistle-blower. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, a former director of the N.S.A. and the Central Intelligence Agency, will also appear.

Ben Wizner, another of Mr. Snowden’s legal advisers, will appear on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

On “Fox News Sunday,” Representative Mike Rogers, Republican of Michigan and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and Representative Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California who also sits on that committee, will discuss the future of the N.S.A.

The shows will also focus on the struggle of President Obama’s administration to implement the Affordable Care Act. HealthCare.gov, the nationwide exchange for health insurance, began running in October, but was overwhelmed by the amount of users, many of whom had to wait hours or days before successfully enrolling. Mr. Obama has also been criticized for claiming that people with insurance would not lose it, when in practice, many who were previously insured had to sign up for new coverage. Mr. Obama admitted earlier this month that these problems were his biggest mistake of 2013.

One of Mr. Obama’s most prominent critics, Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, will be on “Meet the Press” to discuss the future of the health care law. Representative Joaquin Castro, Democrat of Texas, will also appear.

The health care law will also be a topic on “Fox News Sunday,” when Howard Dean — former Vermont governor, a presidential candidate in 2004 and a medical doctor — appears, along with Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former official in the Food and Drug Administration and a fellow with the American Enterprise Institute.

On ABC’s “This Week” and CNN’s “State of the Union,” year-end roundups will discuss these issues and others, including schisms in the Republican Party, the “nuclear option” in the Senate, and Pope Francis, the new head of the Roman Catholic church.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, will discuss education and standardized testing on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers.”

The author and philosopher Michael Novak appeared Friday on Bloomberg television’s “Political Capital,” to discuss the beginning of Pope Francis’ tenure. The show airs throughout the weekend.

Obamas Go Out on the Town in Hawaii

HONOLULU — When President Obama left Washington on Friday, he said he was eager to soak up the sun and relax during his 17-day vacation in Hawaii. But on Sunday, the president — accompanied by his wife, Michelle, and his daughters, Sasha and Malia — hit the town, venturing out twice from their private vacation reteat on the windward side of Oahu.

First, the Obamas headed to the University of Hawaii, where the Oregon State Beavers were taking on the Akron Zips as part of Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic basketball tournament. Mrs. Obama’s brother, Craig Robinson, is the head coach at Oregon State, and the Obamas cheered on his team.

But the First Family did not bring any basketball magic; the Beavers, who never held the lead, lost, 83-71.

That, however, did not prevent the Obamas from enjoying the game from their courtside seats just behind the Oregon State bench. Mr. Obama, who was greeted with cheers when he entered the arena, high-fived fans during half-time, and was joined by his in-laws — Marian Robinson, Mrs. Obama’s mother and the “First Grandmother,” who lives in the White House with the family; and Mr. Robinson’s wife and children.

Also in attendance was Josh Earnest, a White House spokesman; Sam Kass, the White House chef; and Robert Titcomb, a childhood friend of the president’s who in 2011 pleaded guilty to soliciting a prostitute.

At one point, a man and a woman entered the arena to protest the Keystone pipeline, the man dressed in a polar bear suit. (“Beavers Hate Pipelines,” read their sign). The pair danced to the music during a second-half time-out, though it was unclear whether Mr. Obama noticed them.

Later in the day, the First Family headed out again, this time to dinner at Morimoto Waikiki, an upscale restaurant from Masaharu Morimoto, the star of “Iron Chef” and “Iron Chef America.”

No word on what the Obamas ordered, though the restaurant boasts a $140-per-person “omakase” chef’s choice tasting menu.

Obama Says ‘Further Action’ Possible in South Sudan

HONOLULU — After an attack on three United States aircraft attempting to evacuate American citizens from South Sudan, President Obama sent a letter Sunday to top congressional leaders in which he said he might take “further action” to support United States citizens and interests in the contested region.

In a letter to Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio and Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and the Senate’s president pro tempore, Mr. Obama, who is on vacation in Hawaii, wrote, “As I monitor the situation in South Sudan, I may take further action to support the security of U.S. citizens, personnel, and property, including our embassy, in South Sudan.”

Mr. Obama’s letter is consistent with the War Powers Resolution of 1937, which requires the president to inform Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action, and does not necessarily mean that the administration plans further increases in its military operations in the region.

On Saturday, Mr. Obama sent Special Operations forces to Bor, the capital of Jonglei State, where roughly 14,000 refugees had gathered in a United Nations compound surrounded by armed rebel forces. The mission was aborted after all three aircraft took small-arms fire and were damaged. Four service members were injured, one seriously.

Though the United States had been evacuating American citizens from the country, Saturday’s mission was the first time military forces ventured into rebel-controlled territory. All four service members were reported in stable condition.

A White House official said the president was updated on the situation Sunday, after a meeting that Susan E. Rice, his national security adviser, held with senior members of the administration’s national security team. Mr. Obama had also been briefed by Ms. Rice in a conference call on Saturday.

On Sunday morning, the United States continued to evacuate United States citizens from Bor on United Nations and United States civilian helicopters. The State Department, in a statement, said that they have so far evacuated approximately 380 United States officials and private citizens, as well as roughly 300 citizens of other countries, to Nairobi, Kenya, and other locations outside the country.

“The U.S. government is doing everything possible to ensure the safety and security of United States citizens in South Sudan,” said Jen Psaki, a State Department spokeswoman, in an email statement. “We are working with our allies around the world to connect with and evacuate U.S. citizens as quickly and safely as possible. For their safety and security, we will not outline specific evacuation plans.”

Sunday Breakfast Menu, Dec. 22

Sunday's Breakfast MenuStephen Crowley/The New York Times

This week, a White House-appointed panel recommended that President Obama rein in the National Security Agency and impose more oversight. Also, a United States District Court judge ruled Monday that an N.S.A. program that systematically collects records of American phone calls is probably unconstitutional, but he stayed his order while the case is appealed.

But four House and Senate Intelligence committee leaders rejected the White House report, arguing that the call data program was a valuable tool for catching terrorists.

Representative Mike Rogers, Republican of Michigan, and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee,  will defend that message on ABC’s “This Week.” Senator Mark Udall, Democrat of Colorado, and a member of the Senate Intelligence committee, will join Mr. Rogers.

On CBS’s “Face the Nation,” the former C.I.A. director Michael J. Morell, one of the members of the N.S.A. review panel, will talk about the 46 recommendations it made to Mr. Obama on curbing the agency’s power.

Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, and Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, will weigh in on domestic surveillance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, will also appear on the show to analyze the state of the global economy and the strength of the ongoing financial recovery. As many Congressmen head home for the holidays, Senators Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, and Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, will stick around to discuss what is ahead for the Senate in the new year.

On CNN “State of the Union” Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, will talk about the budget deal, the future of the health care law and the chances of passing gun control legislation during the next year. Leaders of the Congressional Future Caucus, a bipartisan group of millennials, will also appear on the show. Representatives Tulsi Gabbard, Democrat of Hawaii, and Aaron J. Schock, Republican of Illinois, will explain how they want to get things done on Capitol Hill.

On CSPAN’s “Newsmakers,” Senator David B. Vitter, Republican of Louisiana and ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, will lay out his criticisms of the Obama administration’s environmental policies and discuss a possible gubernatorial run in 2015. Gov. Bobby Jindal cannot seek re-election due to state term limits.

Will you run? That’s another question on “Fox News Sunday,” where former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas will talk about  2014 and 2016 election prospects, and his plans, if any, to run.

Representative Ileana Ross-Lehtinen, Republican of Florida, is also looking forward to legislative priorities in 2014, especially immigration reform, on Univison’s “Al Punto.” The program airs 10 a.m. Eastern.

Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, appearing on Bloomberg’s “Political Capital,” discussed the budget deal, the debt ceiling deadline and entitlement reform. The program aired on Fridays, but repeats through the weekend.

On Telemundo’s “Enfoque,” Senator Roger Wicker, Republican of Mississippi, and Representative Juan Vargas, Democrat of California, will debate immigration reform. They will be joined by Pablo Alvarado, director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and Tania Unzueta, an immigration activist.

Obamas Arrive in Hawaii for Vacation

HONOLULU — After an end-of-the-year news conference whose first question — “Has this been the worst year of your presidency?” — offered a trenchant reminder of President Obama’s troubled 2013, the president seemed especially ready for a break from the nation’s capital.

And so it was, less than 24-hours later, that Mr. Obama touched down in Hawaii, his boyhood home, for his annual holiday vacation. Accompanied by his wife, Michelle, his two daughters, and the First Family’s two Portuguese Water Dogs, Sunny and Bo, Mr. Obama walked off Air Force One and into the muggy Hawaiian darkness just before midnight Friday.

Already in vacation-casual — clad in khakis and blue button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up (no tie) — the president greeted the several dozen well-wishers and servicemen and women who had gathered at Hickam Air Force Base to watch his arrival.

He was also met by Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie; Kirk Caldwell, the mayor of Honolulu; Representative Tulsi Gabbard, Democrat of Hawaii (who Tweeted a photo of Mr. and Mrs. Obama exiting Air Force One); and Admiral Samuel Locklear, the commander of the United States Pacific Command.

The responsibilities of the Oval Office have often followed Mr. Obama to his Pacific retreat. (Think the fiscal crisis of 2012, or the Christmas day bomber of 2009.) But the president’s aides said that barring any unexpected surprises, they were hoping to keep his two-week island vacation low-key and largely news-free.

After all, a bit of rest and relaxation is just what their boss called for at his news conference. “So, you know, the end of the year is always a good time to reflect and see what can you do better next year,” Mr. Obama said Friday afternoon. “That’s how I intend to approach it. I am sure that I will have even better ideas after a couple days of sleep and sun.”

Scott Brown Plans New Hampshire Move

So Scott Brown is moving to New Hampshire, he confirmed Thursday. The former senator from Massachusetts said his reasons for moving were “strictly personal,” and that they had more to do with empty-nesting than with his political future.

But he did not take the opportunity to quash the rampant speculation that he was moving from Massachusetts for political purposes — to challenge Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat, in her bid next year for re-election.

“Both Gail and I love Massachusetts and like many parents whose children have grown and are moving on with their own lives, we are making personal choices that will reflect our new lifestyle without the kids,” Mr. Brown said in a statement.

By stressing the personal over the political, he only teased the tea-leaf readers who are looking for signs that he is ready to jump back into the political fray after having lost his Senate seat last year to Elizabeth Warren.

“For those who have read my book, you know that my first home was in New Hampshire,” he said. “My family and I have long and strong ties to the Granite State that go back many generations.”

He added: “I am looking forward to being close to my mom as she gets older and needs assistance from my sister and me. I am also looking forward to being closer to my immediate and extended family.”

His message was received by the tea-leaf readers with a great deal of skepticism, especially since it coincided with a $70,000 attack ad against Senator Shaheen from a Super PAC that is urging Mr. Brown to get into the race.

His statement came in advance of his appearance Thursday night at the state Republican Party’s holiday reception in Nashua. Several demonstrators showed up, including strong backers of the Second Amendment who were protesting Mr. Brown’s support for a federal ban on assault weapons.

As he has said for many months, he reiterated that has no immediate deadline by which he expects to make a decision about whether to become a candidate.

Scott Brown Plans New Hampshire Move

So Scott Brown is moving to New Hampshire, he confirmed Thursday. The former senator from Massachusetts said his reasons for moving were “strictly personal,” and that they had more to do with empty-nesting than with his political future.

But he did not take the opportunity to quash the rampant speculation that he was moving from Massachusetts for political purposes — to challenge Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat, in her bid next year for re-election.

“Both Gail and I love Massachusetts and like many parents whose children have grown and are moving on with their own lives, we are making personal choices that will reflect our new lifestyle without the kids,” Mr. Brown said in a statement.

By stressing the personal over the political, he only teased the tea-leaf readers who are looking for signs that he is ready to jump back into the political fray after having lost his Senate seat last year to Elizabeth Warren.

“For those who have read my book, you know that my first home was in New Hampshire,” he said. “My family and I have long and strong ties to the Granite State that go back many generations.”

He added: “I am looking forward to being close to my mom as she gets older and needs assistance from my sister and me. I am also looking forward to being closer to my immediate and extended family.”

His message was received by the tea-leaf readers with a great deal of skepticism, especially since it coincided with a $70,000 attack ad against Senator Shaheen from a Super PAC that is urging Mr. Brown to get into the race.

His statement came in advance of his appearance Thursday night at the state Republican Party’s holiday reception in Nashua. Several demonstrators showed up, including strong backers of the Second Amendment who were protesting Mr. Brown’s support for a federal ban on assault weapons.

As he has said for many months, he reiterated that has no immediate deadline by which he expects to make a decision about whether to become a candidate.

Senate Confirms New Homeland Security Chief

The Senate on Monday evening confirmed Jeh C. Johnson as President Obama’s secretary of homeland security.

Mr. Johnson’s nomination was held up in the Senate fight over filibusters. In the end, however, his appointment was approved, 78 to 16, after the relaxed filibuster rules forced by the Democrats allowed a final vote.

It will not be the first time that Mr. Johnson has a significant influence on the Obama administration’s national security policies. He framed many of them as the Defense Department’s general counsel during Mr. Obama’s first term.

“Jeh has been a critical member of my national security team,” Mr. Obama said in a statement on Monday night. “As secretary of homeland security, Jeh will play a leading role in our efforts to protect the homeland against terrorist attacks, adapt to changing threats, stay prepared for natural disasters, strengthen our border security, and make our immigration system fairer.”

Mr. Johnson, 56, will fill the vacancy left by Janet Napolitano, a former governor of Arizona. She resigned in July to lead the University of California system.

He does not come to the job with Ms. Napolitano’s credentials on border security and immigration. But Mr. Johnson — whose first name is pronounced Jay — was a legal adviser to Mr. Obama during his first presidential campaign and shares many of the president’s ideas about counterterrorism operations.

In the first term, Mr. Johnson helped Mr. Obama reshape President George W. Bush’s counterterrorism policies. Mr. Johnson influenced the administration’s approach to the detention of terrorism suspects and drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia. And he was a leading force in the drive to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law and to allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military.

He has also said that the United States must not be too quick to declare that the fight with Al Qaeda is over. In speeches over the last several years, he has stressed that Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and in North and West Africa continue to pose threats to the United States’ security.

Yet, he has criticized the Obama administration for being too secretive, especially when it comes to drone strikes. “The problem is that the American public is suspicious of executive power shrouded in secrecy,” Mr. Johnson said in a speech at Fordham University this year. “In the absence of an official picture of what our government is doing, and by what authority, many in the public fill the void by imagining the worst.”

Sunday Breakfast Menu, Dec. 15

Sunday's Breakfast MenuStephen Crowley/The New York Times

Things are looking up on Capitol Hill this week after the House approved a bipartisan budget deal to fund the government into 2015. The Senate is expected to pass it next week. But the compromise left some Tea Party groups grumbling.

The architects of the deal — the Budget Committee chairmen Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, and Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington — will lay out their bipartisan budget on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” The former head of the National Security Agency, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, will also appear on the show to discuss the leaks by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden, as American officials admitted Saturday they may never know the entirety of the files he extracted.

Mr. Ryan will also discuss his bipartisan handiwork on “Fox News Sunday.” In light of the one-year anniversary of the Newtown school shootings, Capt. Mark Kelly, husband of former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot during an event in her Arizona district, and Larry Pratt, director of Gun Owners of America, will debate gun control.

ABC’s “This Week” will feature an interview with Secretary of State John Kerry, who will discuss his efforts to find Robert Levinson — the former F.B.I. agent who went missing in Iran seven years ago. This week, Mr. Levinson’s family confirmed he was working for the C.I.A. when he disappeared and accused the government of betraying him.

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona and a member of the Foreign Relations committee, will also talk on international affairs when he appears on both CNN’s “State of the Union” and CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, will join Mr. McCain on CBS to discuss the budget deal. The show will also show a tribute to the victims of the Newtown shooting.

On C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers,” Representative Harold Rogers, Republican of Kentucky, will weigh in on the budget compromise. Mr. Rogers, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, had put pressure on Mr. Ryan and Ms. Murray to make a deal by early December.

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, and Representative Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, discussed the budget and the 2014 midterm elections on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital” on Friday. The program will be repeated throughout the weekend.

On Univision’s “Al Punto,” the president of Uruguay, José Mujica, will talk about the legalization of marijuana in his country. Representative Henry Cuellar, Democrat of Texas, will stop by the show to talk about immigration reform, which may gain more traction now that Congress has passed a budget. The program will air at 1 p.m. Eastern.