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December 1: President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel walk from the West Wing to the Eisenhower Executive Office.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza




December 2: In the Roosevelt Room, White House officials celebrate the birthday of NSC Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. Lighting the candles with President Obama is Oval Office valet Raymond Rogers.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza






Official White House photo by Pete Souza




December 3: President Obama joins a breakout session in the Eisenhower Executive Office during a jobs forum.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza






Official White House photo by Pete Souza






Official White House photo by Pete Souza




December 4: In Allentown, Pennsylvania, President Obama waits to greet workers during a shift change at the Nestle Purina PetCafe facility.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza






Official White House photo by Samantha Appleton




December 4: President Obama greets patrons at the Hamilton Family Restaurant before his lunch with Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.

Official White House photo by Lawrence Jackson




December 4: Audience members reach out to touch the president after he delivers remarks at the Lehigh Carbon Community College in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza




December 6: The president and first lady await their introduction at the Kennedy Center Honors event in the East Room.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza






Official White House photo by Pete Souza




December 6: The first couple joins the Kennedy Center honorees.

Official White House photo by Lawrence Jackson






Official White House photo by Pete Souza






Official White House photo by Pete Souza




December 6: The President, it appears, is talking to his famous interlocuter inside the White House Blue Room.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza




December 6: Obama welcomes Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza




December 7: Less than a week after announcing his war strategy, Obama share laughs with some of his Afghanistan advisers. Joining the president after an Oval Office meeting are (from left to right) Karl Eikenberry, U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan; National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones; and Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza




December 7: A departing staff member, Katie Stanton, brings her family in to greet the president in the outer Oval Office.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza






Official White House photo by Pete Souza




December 9: Vice President Biden and members of Congress listen to the president speak at a meeting in the Cabinet Room.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza




December 11: Wilson Roosevelt Jerman, a White House doorman.

Official White House photo by Chuck Kennedy






Official White House photo by Pete Souza






Official White House photo by Pete Souza




December 16: A child lights the White House Hanukkah candles as the president and first lady look on.

Official White House photo by Samantha Appleton




December 16: Bo, the Obama family dog, keeps a steadfast eye on the South Lawn from the seat of a D.C. police car.

Official White House photo by Chuck Kennedy

The Justice Department is seeking to reverse a judge's ruling last week that the law to defund ACORN is unconstitutional.

Federal District Judge Nina Gershon last week put a preliminary injunction on the funding ban, which was pushed by Republicans in Congress in the wake of the hidden camera scandal that embarrassed ACORN. Gershon agreed with a claim by ACORN that the bill was unconstitutional because it singled out a specific entity for punishment. Today, the Justice Department filed papers in federal court arguing for a reversal of that decision, according to a press release from Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA) trumpeting the news.

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Last week TPMDC explored the conditions that led to the Republican takeover of the House in 1994 and point-by-point detailed why a similar rout in 2010 is unlikely despite a tough political climate.

Today, Rep. Chris Van Hollen who is in charge of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, dismissed potential signs of trouble but stayed on his message that no matter what happens next year members won't be caught unprepared.

He said as confetti was still falling last fall when Barack Obama won the presidency he was warning members they faced a tough mid-year cycle.

"This is not going to be 1994 all over again," Van Hollen told reporters at a briefing at the DNC. "The fundamentals are very different today."

Their strategy: GOP just wants to rewind the clock to Bush era.

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Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, put out a press release today expressing support for Sen. Bob Casey's (D-PA) efforts to write a compromise on abortion coverage:

The Catholic Health Association is pleased to learn of the work being done to improve the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009. As we understand it, the Senate intends to keep the President's commitment that no federal funds will pay for abortions and in addition, provide significant new support for pregnant women.

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The Senate will get a brief respite from its struggle over health care reform tonight--a six hour break before returning for a procedural vote on defense appropriations.

Democrats still don't have a CBO score handy, and will have to begin holding votes at all hours if they plan to complete work on health care reform before the end of next week, as planned. How would that work exactly? We'll have more for you tomorrow.

Republican lawmakers who accompanied Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the climate talks in Copenhagen say they learned something about the speaker in Denmark: she's a Mean Girl. Citing slights like "not being helped in setting up their own media briefing," Republicans are smarting after being subjected to Pelosi's unique brand of bullying.

On the National Journal's Copenhagen Insider blog, the five GOP members of the delegation reel off the ways Pelosi has maliciously attacked them:

[It] includes not being invited to attend a press briefing today featuring Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and five other Democratic leaders; not being helped in setting up their own media briefing; and initially not getting access to top U.N. climate negotiator Todd Stern.

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After a photo session leaked out last week of RNC Chairman Michael Steele posing with his interns, we've all been struck with a tinge of envy. You may not agree with his politics, but you have to admit that Steele comes off as a fairly gregarious and generally likable guy. At least he has a sense of humor.

Well, envy no more. Now you can pose with Steele!

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The Republican National Committee is clamming up about a top official who said it's no big deal that the executive director of the Arizona GOP allegedly used the party's voter registration database to stalk a woman.

An Arizona woman has filed a criminal complaint against Brett Mecum, the executive director of the state Republican party, charging that he stalked her*. Mecum, the woman alleges, used the GOP's Voter Vault system to find her address, then showed up uninvited to a party at her home, in a way that she found threatening.

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