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4:50 PM ET, January 12, 2009


 Top Items: 
John Cushman / The Caucus:
From the White House Briefing Room, a Swan Song  —  President Bush's last press conference opened with cordial words for the reporters who have covered his remarkable eight years in office.  —  Acknowledging that relations have been strained at times - that some had “misunderestimated me …
White House:
Press Conference by the President  —  James S. Brady Press Briefing Room  —  THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.  Tapper.  We have been through a lot together.  As I look through the room, I see Jake, Mike, Herman, Ann Compton.  Just seemed like yesterday that — that I was on the campaign trail …
New York Times:
In Final News Conference, Bush Strikes Elegiac Tone  —  WASHINGTON — A sentimental and occasionally defiant President Bush held his final news conference on Monday, conceding that the past eight years have dealt him some disappointments but declaring that, contrary to some critics of his policies …
Discussion: The Politico and
Bush admits mistakes in his final news conference
Discussion: The Swamp and The Impolitic
Washington Post:
Bush Defends His Tenure, America's Moral Standing
Discussion: The Daily Dish and marbury
Josh Kraushaar / Scorecard's Blogs:
Portman running to succeed Voinovich  —  Former Republican congressman Rob Portman will announce that he is running for the Senate soon after Ohio Sen. George Voinovich's retirement announcement, according to multiple Republican sources.  —  Portman's official announcement is expected to take place on Wednesday.
Michelle Malkin:
I can't say I'll miss Crybaby George Voinovich
Washington Wire:
Ohio Sen. Voinovich Joins Growing List of Retirements
Discussion: US Politics
Signorile / The Gist:
RNC Chair Candidate: “Homosexuality is a compulsion that can be contained, repressed or changed.”  —  Yes, that's what Ken Blackwell, the sketchy former Ohio Secretary of State who now has a good shot at running the Republican National Committee, told me a few months back, among some other very interesting and kooky things.
The Directors / RedState:
If Not Ken Blackwell, Keep Mike Duncan  —  RedState endorses Ken Blackwell for Chairman of the Republican National Committee.  —  While RedState's endorsement in the race for Chairman of the Republican National Committee does not set us apart from many of our colleagues in the online right movement, our second choice does.
Mariana Cook / New Yorker:
A COUPLE IN CHICAGO … MICHELLE OBAMA: There is a strong possibility that Barack will pursue a political career, although it's unclear.  There is a little tension with that.  I'm very wary of politics.  I think he's too much of a good guy for the kind of brutality, the skepticism.
Discussion: Spin Cycle and Wonkette
Associated Press:
Israel bans Arab parties from running in upcoming elections  —  The Central Elections Committee on Monday banned Arab political parties from running in next month's parliamentary elections, drawing accusations of racism by an Arab lawmaker who said he would challenge the decision in the country's Supreme Court.
Lauren Kornreich / CNN:
Joe the Plumber: Ban media from war  —  Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, is in Israel.  (Getty Images/Israeli GPO)  —  (CNN) - ‘Joe the Plumber’ Wurzelbacher told a group of journalists covering the conflict in Israel and Gaza that he didn't think the media should be allowed to report on war.
Discussion: The New Republic and Sadly, No!
Paul Kane / Washington Post:
House Republicans Invite Obama to Address Them  —  House Republicans have invited President-elect Barack Obama to speak before the entire GOP conference, hoping to set a different tone to the partisan wars of the last two years in which congressional Democrats battled President Bush.
CNN:   Obama's campaign rhetoric runs into reality
Stephen Dinan / Washington Times:
Obama climate czar has socialist ties  —  Group sees ‘global governance’ as solution  —  Until last week, Carol M. Browner, President-elect Barack Obama's pick as global warming czar, was listed as one of 14 leaders of a socialist group's Commission for a Sustainable World Society …
Lara Jakes / Associated Press:
Obama preparing order to close Gitmo  —  WASHINGTON (AP) — Advisers to President-elect Barack Obama say one of his first duties in office will be to order the closing of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.  —  That executive order is expected during Obama's first week on the job …
THE BEAST 50 MOST LOATHSOME PEOPLE IN AMERICA, 2008  —  50. Barack Obama  —  Charges: Beyond a few token acts of bipartisan marketing, Barry's major duty in the Senate was to avoid legislating, so he could pretend Washington-outsider status and nullify attacks on his non-existent policy positions.
Discussion: My Left Wing
Brian Bakst / Associated Press:
Officials turn down Franken's request for an election certificate  —  ST. PAUL, Minn. - Democrat Al Franken was quickly turned down Monday when he asked Minnesota's governor and secretary of state to issue an election certificate that would let him take office in the Senate.
Discussion: Reuters and Sweetness & Light
Mike Kaszuba / Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Franken campaign asks for certificate to take seat
Discussion: Scorecard's Blogs
Agence France Presse:
Rice shame-faced by Bush over UN Gaza vote: Olmert  —  Featured Topics: - Barack Obama - Presidential Transition  —  JERUSALEM (AFP) - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was left shame-faced after President George W. Bush ordered her to abstain in a key UN vote on the Gaza war, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Monday.
Ryan Powers / Think Progress:
Specter Knocks Leahy For Predicting Holder Confirmation Despite His Own Similar Conduct On Ashcroft  —  This morning, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) took to right-wing talk radio to continue his politically-motivated crusade against President-elect Obama's Attorney General designate Eric Holder.
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Sen. Hatch to back Eric Holder for AG
Mike Allen / The Politico:
Gay bishop will open inaugural weekend  —  The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who was elected the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop in 2003, will deliver the invocation for Sunday's kickoff inaugural event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the Presidential Inaugural Committee said.
Lisa Derrick / Firedoglake:
Gay Bishop to Deliver Opening Ceremony Prayer
Discussion: Comedy Central
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Ideas for Obama  —  Last week President-elect Barack Obama was asked to respond to critics who say that his stimulus plan won't do enough to help the economy.  Mr. Obama answered that he wants to hear ideas about “how to spend money efficiently and effectively to jump-start the economy.”
Alexander Burns / The Politico:
NYT reporter warns of one-term Obama  —  White House reporters for The New York Times predict that the market collapse will force President-elect Barack Obama to abandon for now many of his campaign promises.  —  If his stimulus plan “doesn't work out, he may very well be a one-term president …
James Fallows:
Refining the point about GW Bush's final press conference  —  I mentioned a few minutes ago, while GW Bush's final press conference was underway, that the president seemed unusually “self-aware.”  —  That's not quite right.  On matters of policy, he revealed himself to be as isolated …
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 More Items: 
Ali Frick / Think Progress:
Scarborough: 'That's the silliest thing I've ever heard' that torture …
Discussion: Firedoglake
Adam Cohen / New York Times:
Republicans' Latest Talking Point: The New Deal Failed
Discussion: Hullabaloo and Open Left
Gunnar Heinsohn / Wall Street Journal:
Ending the West's Proxy War Against Israel
Discussion: The Corner
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
Open Source Textbooks
Discussion: Left in the West
Kevin Hassett / Bloomberg:
Trillion-Dollar Spree Is Road to Ruin, Not Rally: Kevin Hassett
Discussion: EconLog and Hot Air
 Earlier Items: 
David Carr / New York Times:
Let's Invent an iTunes for News
Jonathan Weisman / Wall Street Journal:
Obama Plans to Keep Estate Tax
Khaled Abu Toameh / Jerusalem Post:
Iran warns Hamas not to accept Egyptian truce proposal