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1:30 PM ET, December 18, 2013

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 Top Items: 
Glenn Thrush / Politico:
Obama's reboot: Can Podesta save him?  —  Barack Obama's at the lowest point of his presidency.  Can John Podesta save him?  —  When President Barack Obama's chief of staff, Denis McDonough, approached John Podesta a few weeks ago about taking over the high-aggravation job of White House counselor …
RELATED:
Peggy Noonan's Blog:
Incompetence  —  Everyone is doing thoughtful year-end pieces on President Obama.  Writers and reporters agree he's had his worst year ever.  I infer from most of their essays an unstated but broadly held sense of foreboding: There's no particular reason to believe next year will be better …
Paul Waldman / American Prospect:
New Documentary Threatens to Make You Like Mitt Romney  —  During the 2012 campaign, I, like every liberal writer whose job it is to comment on politics every day, wrote many unkind things about Mitt Romney.  Much of the time I found him more sad than despicable; politicians who nearly reach …
RELATED:
Brett LoGiurato / Business Insider:
Watch The Moment Mitt Romney Realizes He Is Going To Lose The Election  —  Netflix is out with a trailer for its new Mitt Romney documentary — “MITT” — which provides a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look into some of the most important moments of his failed campaign for president.
Discussion: Mediaite, The Verge, FishbowlDC and The Week
Chris Cillizza / Washington Post:
This is the ad every Democrat should be scared of in 2014  —  Ending Spending, a conservative outside group dedicated to, well, ending (government)spending, is running an ad in New Hampshire that will be replicated endlessly by Republican candidates and groups in the 2014 midterm election.
Tal Kopan / Politico:
Larry Klayman in huge CNN smackdown  —  Conservative legal activist Larry Klayman got into an argument on CNN with host Don Lemon and legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin when he was brought on to discuss his victory this week in a lawsuit challenging NSA surveillance, resulting in Lemon cutting …
Discussion: The Week
Mark Leibovich / New York Times:
How John McCain Turned His Clichés Into Meaning  —  When I walk into John McCain's office a week before Thanksgiving, he is not at all happy — and seems to be enjoying it quite a bit.  —  He is sampling none of the usual flavors of upset we tend to associate with the Arizona senator …
James Hibberd / Inside TV:
‘Duck Dynasty’ star makes anti-gay comments; GLAAD slams  —  Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson is making anti-gay comments in the January issue of GQ.  —  In statements that threaten the A&E reality hit's wildly popular and uplifting brand of faith, family and hunting, the Robertson patriarch said …
James Taranto / Wall Street Journal:
Of course the uninsured hate ObamaCare too.  —  Reason's Peter Suderman takes note of a poll result that surprises him: … If Suderman's surprise is sincere, he must have taken a sip of the ObamaCare Kool-Aid.  Implicit in his reasoning is a huge unwarranted assumption—to wit, that people without health insurance desire to have it.
RELATED:
KASW-TV:
Brewer weighs in on ‘white’ Santa controversy
David Edwards / The Raw Story:
Birther tea party rep. refuses to stand near Obama photo, moves away U.S. flag  —  A tea party-back Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Missouri this week asked that a flag be moved because she did not want to stand near a photo of President Barack Obama during a press conference.
Discussion: Liberaland
Noel Sheppard / NewsBusters:
Barbara Walters on Obama: ‘We Thought He Was Going To Be The Next Messiah’  —  Yes, she really said it.  —  On CNN's Piers Morgan Live Tuesday, in a brief discussion about President Obama, Barbara Walters actually said, “We thought that he was going to be - I shouldn't say this at Christmastime …
New York Times:
Saudi Arabia Will Go It Alone  —  London — Saudi Arabia has been friends with our Western partners for decades; for some, like the United Kingdom where I serve as ambassador, for almost a century.  These are strategic alliances that benefit us both.  Recently, these relationships have been tested …
Russell Berman / The Hill:
Ryan won't run for White House in 2016, his GOP colleagues say  —  Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has a choice to make.  —  The Republican Budget Committee chairman is the most popular conservative in the House, and over the coming year, he will have to decide whether to seek a more powerful committee gavel …
CNN:
Arrest, strip-search of Indian diplomat in New York triggers uproar  —  (CNN) — The arrest and detention of an Indian consular official in New York on visa fraud charges has created a diplomatic uproar, with punitive steps taken against State Department officials in New Delhi.
Alex Pareene / Salon:
Hack List No. 4: David Brooks  —  Our annual list is here!  This time, we channeled each hack's unique voice — and let them “write” their own entries  —  It seems a pleasant life to be a Columnist.  He writes a few hundred words once, or at most twice a week.
Discussion: The Huffington Post and Mediaite
Caroline May / The Daily Caller:
Senate Dems block amendment to restore veteran benefits by closing illegal immigrant welfare loophole  —  Senate Republicans were unable to stop military pension cuts when Senate Democrats blocked a vote on an amendment to prevent the cuts by closing a welfare loophole for illegal immigrants Tuesday night.
CBS News:
Poll: Both uninsured, insured skeptical about Obamacare  —  Shares -  —  Tweets - Stumble  —  Skepticism about the health care law extends to both insured and uninsured Americans, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll.  Both groups disapprove of the law overall …
Harris Interactive:
Americans' Belief in God, Miracles and Heaven Declines  —  Belief in Darwin's theory of evolution rises  —  A new Harris Poll finds that while a strong majority (74%) of U.S. adults do believe in God, this belief is in decline when compared to previous years as just over four in five (82%) …
Committee to Protect Journalists:
Second worst year on record for jailed journalists  —  For the second consecutive year, Turkey was the world's leading jailer of journalists, followed closely by Iran and China.  The number of journalists in prison globally decreased from a year earlier but remains close to historical highs.
RELATED:
Reporters Without Borders:
71 journalists were killed in 2013
pubs.acs.org:
Abstract  —  The oil spill resulting from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform initiated immediate concern for marine wildlife, including common bottlenose dolphins in sensitive coastal habitats.  To evaluate potential sublethal effects on dolphins, health assessments …
David P. Goldman / PJ Media:
It's About the Settlements, Stupid  —  Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, the misnamed occupied territories, are not the obstacle to peace between Israelis and Palestinians.  They are the acid test of peace.  To argue that peace is conceivable unless the bulk of the settlements remain in place constitutes stupidity or hypocrisy.
RELATED:
Omri Avisaar / carolinglick:   Kerry forces Israel's moment of decision
Hunter Walker / Talking Points Memo:
Rob Ford Boogies To Bob Marley At Toronto Meeting (VIDEO)  —  Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford would like to jam it with you and he hopes you like jamming too.  —  Ford was feeling all right during Tuesday's meeting of the city council as he danced and sang with a reggae band …
Alexandra Jaffe / The Hill:
Bevin wants new blood in Washington  —  Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) primary opponent suggested that he would use the debt-ceiling fight this spring as leverage to defund ObamaCare.  —  In an interview with The Hill, Republican Matt Bevin (Ky.) reiterated his disappointment with congressional GOP leaders …
Heather Haddon / Metropolis:
Appointees Who Resigned in Wake of Bridge Controversy Retain Attorneys  —  Two appointees of Gov. Chris Christie's who recently resigned amid a controversy over lane closures at the George Washington Bridge have retained private attorneys, according to correspondence from their attorneys viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Discussion: Politico
 
 
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 More Items: 
Alex Pappas / The Daily Caller:
Boehner rents Capitol Hill apartment from tanning bed lobbyist
Baltimore Sun:
Decision time for Md.'s health exchange [Editorial]
Kevin Bogardus / The Hill:
Liberal group touted access to Hillary Clinton for $250,000
The Monkey Cage:
States with higher black turnout are more likely to restrict voting
Discussion: Balloon Juice
Stephanie McCrummen / Washington Post:
Feeling besieged, tea party groups prepare for policy battles
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Lucia Graves / NationalJournal.com:
Obamacare's Unlikely Winners
Discussion: Liberaland
 Earlier Items: 
bizjournals:
D.C. far outpaces nation in personal earnings
Discussion: Weekly Standard
Mark Mazzetti / New York Times:
Senate Asks C.I.A. to Share Its Report on Interrogations
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Lawfare
Neil Gough / New York Times:
Bitcoin Value Sinks After Chinese Exchange Move
Bloomberg:
North America to Drown in Oil as Mexico Ends Monopoly
Discussion: americanthinker.com
New York Times:
Budget Deal Offers a Reprieve From Washington Paralysis
Discussion: The Week
Dan Friedman / NY Daily News:
Rangel Will Seek Reelection, Plans to Announce This Week
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
 

 
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Gautham Nagesh / Wall Street Journal:
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