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John Podesta: Obama 'warming up' to idea of ruling by executive fiat

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While appearing on NPR Tuesday morning, White House adviser John Podesta said President Obama is "warming up" to the idea of unilaterally ruling by executive fiat, bypassing Congress whenever he can, CNS News reported.

"But he doesn't like to do this, does he?" the NPR host asked.

"Uh, I think he's warmed up to it," Podesta responded, laughing.

Podesta assured NPR that Obama would be using his executive authority to address a number of issues, including global warming.

"And I think you'll see that across a wide range of topics, including retirement security, moving forward on his climate change and energy transformation agenda," he added. "There's a lot that he has the authority to do that's vested in him under the laws of the United States and his constitutional powers, and I think that he's looking forward to a year of action, and I think he's looking forward to tonight as a breakthrough year where he can lay out some of these practical, concrete ideas that will get people on-board a stable economic footing and see their wages going up for the first time in a long time."

Podesta said Obama would not bypass Congress and unilaterally rule on comprehensive immigration, but the president has taken unilateral action to stop the deportation of young illegal immigrants.

"If he believes, and the Justice department believes, he has the authority to make progress, to strengthen the middle class, give people opportunity in this country, he will take it," Podesta added.

Shortly after Democrats got shellacked in the 2010 midterm elections, Podesta's Center for American Progress released a report saying Obama should use all of his power, including his authority as Commander-in-Chief of the military, to unilaterally enact his progressive agenda.

For example, the report said Obama should "[c]onvene and engage hunters and anglers in the development of a fish and wildlife climate adaptation plan" and "[g]enerate solar energy on U.S. Air Force hangar roofs."

CNS said that shortly before Podesta spoke to NPR, the administration said Obama would use his executive authority to raise the minimum wage of those working on new federal contracts to $10.10 per hour.

CNN will begin live coverage of Tuesday's State of the Union speech at 7 p.m. Eastern time. We will live-blog the speech at our Facebook page, here.

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