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1:35 PM ET, December 18, 2008


 Top Items: 
Greg Sargent / TPM Election Central:
Obama On Rick Warren Pick: We Have To Be Able To Agree To Disagree  —  Obama, at his presser today, defends the decision to choose Rick Warren to deliver the invocation as his inauguration with a restatement of his commitment to gay rights and, more broadly, to the principles of unity that have been a hallmark of his rise to power:
The Huffington Post:
Obama's Talking Points On Rick Warren  —  At his press conference on Thursday, Barack Obama for the first time addressed the flurry of protest that has erupted over the choice of Rick Warren to give the inaugural invocation.  —  Stressing his own advocacy of equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans …
Ezra Klein / American Prospect:
New York Times:
The Torture Report  —  Most Americans have long known that the horrors of Abu Ghraib were not the work of a few low-ranking sociopaths.  All but President Bush's most unquestioning supporters recognized the chain of unprincipled decisions that led to the abuse, torture and death in prisons run …
Cheney to Emanuel: Control your VP  —  WASHINGTON (CNN) — Vice President Dick Cheney had some blunt — and humorous — advice for incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel at a private breakfast earlier this month, CNN has learned.  —  “The best thing you can do is keep your VP under control …
Washington Wire:
Rahm Emanuel's Brother Joins White House Team
Rob Bluey / The Foundry:
Conservative Leader Paul Weyrich Dies; First to Lead Heritage  —  Paul M. Weyrich, chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation and first president of The Heritage Foundation, died this morning around 1 a.m. He was 66 years old.  Weyrich was a good friend to many of us at Heritage, a true leader and a man of unbending principle.
Mike Allen / The Politico:
Conservative icon Paul Weyrich dies  —  Paul M. Weyrich, 66, who helped found the Heritage Foundation and at one time was one of Washington's most visible conservatives, died this morning.  At his death, he was president and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.
J. Taylor Rushing / The Hill:
Dodd's rating drops after White House run  —  Sen. Chris Dodd's failed presidential campaign appears to have hurt him in Connecticut according to a new survey that showed the Democrat with his lowest poll numbers in 14 years.  —  The poll by Quinnipiac University shows the Senate Banking Committee chairman …
Discussion: Instapundit
Jordy Yager / The Hill:
With economy in shambles, Congress gets a raise  —  A crumbling economy, more than 2 million constituents who have lost their jobs this year, and congressional demands of CEOs to work for free did not convince lawmakers to freeze their own pay.  —  Instead, they will get a $4,700 pay increase …
Stephen Dinan / Washington Times:
Gay man backed for Navy secretary  —  Foes cite 'Don't ask, don't tell'  —  Some top retired military leaders and some Democrats in Congress are backing William White, chief operating officer of the Intrepid Museum Foundation, to be the next secretary of the Navy - a move that would put …
Brian Sharp / Democrat And Chronicle:
Kennedy visits Rochester as part of effort to learn about upstate New York  —  In her first visit to Rochester, U.S. Senate hopeful Caroline Kennedy met Wednesday with Mayor Robert Duffy and Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport, asking questions about upstate but not asking for an endorsement.
Eli Saslow / Washington Post:
Obama's Chief Speechwriter, 27, Works on Inaugural Address While Making His Own Transition  —  The job requires him to work unnoticed, even in plain view, so Jon Favreau settles into a wooden chair at a busy Starbucks in the center of Penn Quarter.  Deadline looms, and he needs to write at least half a page by the end of the day.
Sources: John Holdren to be Nominated as Obama's Science Adviser  —  Strong indications are that President-elect Barack Obama has picked physicist John Holdren to be the president's science adviser.  —  A top adviser to the Obama campaign and international expert on energy and climate …
Richard Pérez-Peña / New York Times:
Big News in Washington, but Far Fewer Cover It  —  WASHINGTON — A new president arrived from a new party.  The balance of power shifted in Congress.  Legions of fresh new faces showed up in the nation's capital with new ideas, eager to upend the way the country does business.
Associated Press:
Frigid Storm Closes California Freeways, Drops Snow in Malibu  —  LOS ANGELES — Snow snarled major mountain highways and even dusted Malibu on Wednesday as a cold storm hit parts of California.  One person was killed by a wind-related helicopter crash, and an overflowing river …
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
Questions That Are Too Hard for Me  —  Kevin Drum raises the specter of the trade deficit: … This goes back to the fraught issue of global savings imbalances.  For reasons that I don't think people understand very well, we not only have a number of high-savings perpetual-surplus countries …
Nate Silver /
Hold Your Horses, Minnesota  —  The State of Minnesota's Canvassing Board has finished adjudicating challenges brought to the Board by Al Franken.  They will begin evaluating challenges brought by Norm Coleman's campaign tomorrow.  —  The Star Tribune has logged 391 challenges made by the Franken campaign.
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 More Items: 
Christi Parsons / The Swamp:
Obama names SEC chair, vows crackdown
Discussion: Chicago Breaking News
Ed Morrissey / Hot Air:
Audio: Sharpton opposing Card Check?
Discussion: RedState and Kausfiles
Helene Cooper / New York Times:
The Direct Approach  —  WASHINGTON—President-elect Barack Obama …
Discussion: The Jed Report
Christina Bellantoni / Washington Times:
MSNBC host Brzezinski mugged in D.C.
Discussion: Media Blog, Gawker and Wonkette
Arthur B. Laffer / Wall Street Journal:
Obama Should Forget About Energy Independence
Discussion: Sadly, No!
 Earlier Items: 
Christine Haughney / New York Times:
Madoff Scandal Shaking Real Estate Industry
Ashley Fantz / CNN:
Children forced into cell-like school seclusion rooms
Discussion: The Reaction
Scott / Power Line:
Discussion: MinnPost and GayPatriot
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
The Denouement of Howard Dean?
Discussion: Open Left and Political Machine