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1:55 PM ET, December 13, 2008

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Mark Silva / The Swamp:
Rahm Emanuel, Blagojevich staff talked  —  Rahm Emanuel, President-elect Barack Obama's pick to be White House chief of staff, had conversations with Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration about who would replace Obama in the U.S. Senate, the Tribune has learned.
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AJStrata / The Strata-Sphere:
The Obama Administration Is Now Damaged Goods, Obama Lied To America  —  Update: A consensus is brewing about Obama's pending troubles - see here, here, here and here.  —  Major Update Below!  —  The big dominos seem to be falling already, less than a week from the news breaking.
Roland Martin / essence.typepad.com:
THE BACK STORY OF VALERIE JARRETT, ILLINOIS U.S. SENATE SEAT AND THE WHITE HOUSE
Discussion: CANNONFIRE
Jackie Calmes / New York Times:
New York Housing Chief Is Chosen for Cabinet  —  WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama has picked the widely respected housing commissioner for New York City, Shaun Donovan, to be the secretary of housing in his cabinet.  —  Assuming that Mr. Donovan, 42, is confirmed by the Senate …
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New York Times:
Shaun Donovan  —  As he prepares to take office, President-elect Barack Obama is relying on a small team of advisers who will lead his transition operation and help choose the members of his administration.  Following is part of a series of profiles of potential members of the administration.
Discussion: AMERICAblog News
Dan McSwain / Change.gov:   Secretary of Housing and Urban Development announced in Weekly Address
New York Times:
Now Accused of Fraud, Wall St. Wizard Had His Skeptics  —  For years, investors, rivals and regulators all wondered how Bernard L. Madoff worked his magic.  —  But on Friday, less than 24 hours after this prominent Wall Street figure was arrested on charges connected with what authorities portrayed …
Discussion: Marginal Revolution and Althouse
Elisabeth Bumiller / New York Times:
General Sees Longer Stay for Some U.S. Troops in Iraqi Cities  —  BALAD, Iraq — The top American commander in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno, said Saturday that some American troops would remain in cities past the June deadline for a withdrawal of combat troops that was called for in an agreement with the Iraqi government.
Discussion: Newshoggers.com and TIME.com
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Lolita C. Baldor / Associated Press:   Commander: Some US troops to stay in Iraqi cities
Digby / Hullabaloo:
They Can't Be That Desperate  —  Dear God: … I honestly don't know quite how to deal with this.  Over the past year I have strained and even broken treasured friendships over the idea that allowing a Republican to win over a Democrat, no matter how bad he or she is …
Chicago Sun Times:
Blago could decide future by Monday  —  Gov. Blagojevich will decide early next week — perhaps as early as Monday — whether he should resign, a source close to the governor told the Chicago Sun-Times.  —  “He was blindsided by this,” the source said.  “He needs some time to digest what's going on.
Discussion: Hot Air and TIME.com
Fred Barnes / Weekly Standard:
The Other American Auto Industry  —  Plenty of car makers make a go of it in this country—they're just non-union and not headquartered in Detroit.  —  Drew Ferguson IV is a 42-year-old dentist whose family has lived in this town, population 3,300, “since God put us here.”
Discussion: The Mahablog and Jules Crittenden
Scott Simon / Wall Street Journal:
Even Chicago's Crooks Are Appalled by Blagojevich  —  Extorting Children's Hospital is a new political low.  —  Chicago  —  Chicagoans and Illinoisans love political scandal the way that Milanese love opera.  —  We trade recollections, like baseball cards, about the secretary of state …
Discussion: The Swamp and TigerHawk
New York Times:
Sorry, Obamas, Early Check-In Isn't Available  —  CHICAGO — To the list of people having trouble finding somewhere in Washington to stay in early January, there can now be added one more entry: the Obama family.  —  President Bush's aides have turned down a request from President-elect Barack Obama …
Mark Pittman / Bloomberg:
Fed Refuses to Disclose Recipients of $2 Trillion  —  A A A  —  Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve refused a request by Bloomberg News to disclose the recipients of more than $2 trillion of emergency loans from U.S. taxpayers and the assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.
Victoria Toensing / Wall Street Journal:
Fitzgerald Should Keep His Opinions to Himself  —  As in the Libby case, his behavior is ‘appalling.’  —  Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's “conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave,” according to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.  But Mr. Fitzgerald's statement would, at the very least …
Discussion: Think Progress, Althouse and Fox News
Countdown / MSNBC:
GOP: ‘ACTION ALERT - AUTO BAILOUT’  —  Countdown has obtained a memo entitled “Action Alert - Auto Bailout,” and sent Wednesday at 9:12am, to Senate Republicans.  The names of the sender(s) and recipient(s) have been redacted in the copy Countdown obtained.
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Ecuador defaults on foreign debt
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