January 2012 Current Events: U.S. News
Here are the key events in United States news for the month of January 2012.
Iowa Caucus Kicks off U.S. Presidential Election Process (Jan. 3): In the 2012 Iowa caucuses, President Barack Obama goes uncontested in the Democratic caucus. In the Republican caucus, at first, Mitt Romney is declared the winner over Rick Santorum by eight votes. Ron Paul comes in third with 21% of the vote, followed by Newt Gingrich (13%), Rick Perry (10%), Michele Bachmann (5%), and Jon Huntsman (0.6%). Romney receives 25% of the vote, the same percentage he received in the 2008 Iowa caucus. The Iowa caucuses are the first major event in the U.S. presidential election. The 2012 Iowa caucus results will be revised later in the month. (Jan. 4): The day after coming in sixth in the Iowa Republican caucus, Michele Bachmann ends her campaign for the presidential nomination. At a news conference in West Des Moines, Bachmann says, "Last night, the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice, and so I have decided to stand aside." Bachmann's sixth place finish is a big disappointment, especially since Iowa is her home state. (Jan. 10): Romney easily wins the New Hampshire primary. Romney receives 39.3% of the vote. Ron Paul comes in second with 22.9%, followed by Jon Huntsman (16.9%), Newt Gingrich (9.4%), Rick Santorum (9.4%), and Rick Perry (0.7%). (Jan. 15): Jon Huntsman ends his bid for the Republican presidential nomination and endorses Mitt Romney. (Jan. 19): Gov. Rick Perry of Texas drops out of the Republican presidential race and endorses Newt Gingrich. Meanwhile, in an interview with ABC News, Marianne Gingrich, the second wife of Newt Gingrich, says that he asked her for an open marriage while informing her of an affair he was having with Callista Bisek, who became his third wife in 2000. (Jan. 21): Newt Gingrich wins the South Carolina primary with 40.4% of the vote. Romney is a distant second (27.8%) followed by Rick Santorum (17.0%) and Ron Paul (13.0%). Meanwhile, certified results in Iowa show that Rick Santorum narrowly beat Romney by 34 votes in the Jan. 3 caucus. However, since results from eight precincts could not be located for certification, Santorum and Romney officially tie and split Iowa's delegates. (Jan. 31): Romney wins the Florida primary by a comfortable margin, receiving 46.4% of the vote. Gingrich comes in second with 31.9%, followed by Rick Santorum (13.4%) and Ron Paul (7.0%).
Obama Unveils Plan for a Leaner Military (Jan. 5): President Obama makes a rare appearance at the Pentagon briefing room to outline a new national defense strategy. The new strategy takes into account the Pentagon budget cuts, the end to the war in Iraq as well as new threats from Iran and China. In discussing the new strategy, Obama stresses a leaner military, but not a weaker one.
Internet Protests Hurt Piracy Bills (Jan. 18): A major protest online shakes up Congressional support for anti-Web piracy measures. The protest, including a 24-hour shutdown of the English-language Wikipedia site, is over two bills, the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the Protect IP Act in the Senate. The main goal of both bills is to stop illegal downloading and streaming of TV shows and movies online. The tech industry is concerned that the bills will give media companies too much power to shut down websites. During the internet protests, Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a co-sponsor of the anti-Internet piracy legislation, changes his position, announcing that he will no longer back it. Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas urges Congress to take more time before voting.
Giffords Steps Down from Congress (Jan. 22): Representative Gabrielle Giffords, still recovering from last year's assassination attempt, announces that she is vacating her seat in the House of Representatives. Giffords, whose recovery from a gunshot wound in the head has inspired the nation, feels she cannot continue to focus on her recovery and still serve in Congress.
President Obama Provides Economic Blueprint in State of the Union Address (Jan. 24): In his election-year State of the Union address, President Obama argues that the government should strive to bridge the gap between rich Americans and the rest of the U.S. by changing the tax code and other policies. In his speech, he says: "We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot."