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A spokesman for the State Department had this take on President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize, reports CNN:

Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum -- when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes.


The comment was made by Assistant Secretary PJ Crowley, a spokesman for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, former surrogate for the McCain campaign, and current exploratory candidate for Senate in 2010, declined to answer a question about Sarah Palin. Blogger Bill Black reports that Fiorina spoke to a business meeting in San Francisco Thursday night:

But most interestingly, she was asked whether Sarah Palin displayed leadership qualities. The question was asked in apparent sincerity, but her physical reaction seemed to suggest that she considered it a hostile question.

Here's her response, word for word, in its entirety:

"I've never met Sarah Palin. Next question."

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Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) took to the airwaves on Fox today to warn viewers of the rapists and child molesters he says will be coming to their doors courtesy of the U.S. government next year.

Speaking on "Studio B" this afternoon, Chaffetz responded to recent Senate testimony from a GAO official who said it was "possible" that improper fingerprinting procedures at the Census Bureau led to the hiring of somewhere around 200 temporary census workers "with extensive criminal records." The official said the bureau had dismissed 750 of 1,800 temporary workers it hired last year with criminal records after reviewing details of the workers' cases.

Chaffetz, to Fox's Gregg Jarrett:

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Republican strategist Chris LaCivita takes issue with my point about the GOP holding their criticism over the long weekend.

LaCivita is best known for his role in the Swift Boat ads.

He told TPMDC the Republicans are smart to (mostly) avoid direct criticism of President Obama related to the Nobel Peace Prize, arguing they should spend their time attacking Obama's domestic policy.

"Why divert an attack on the Nobel Peace Prize when there are bigger issues and bigger fish to fry back home?" LaCivita said, adding he thinks Obama won for giving "a couple nice speeches."

"I don't know what it does for us, for the country," he said. "I don't care what the French think of us and I could care less what the people in Oslo think of us."

The end has come...

Controversial private security contractor American Private Police Fore has officially backed out of a deal with Hardin, Montana, to run a local prison, APPF spokeswoman Beck Shay announced this afternoon. (Watch Shay's press conference here.)

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President Obama has had a busy September and October. Health care, Afghanistan--a Nobel Peace Prize! Here, the President and Vice President Biden pose with the Supreme Court on September 8 before the investiture ceremony for newly minted Justice Sonia Sotomayor. From left to right: Associate Justices Alito, Ginsburg, Kennedy, Stevens, Chief Justice Roberts, the President, the Vice President, Associate Justices Scalia, Thomas, Breyer, and former Associate Justice David Souter.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




The President pauses for a moment of reflection during a Cabinet meeting on September 10.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




The President gets to lift the Stanley Cup as it and the 2009 NHL champion Pittsburgh Penguins take a trip to the East Room of the White House.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




The President and the First Lady observe the eighth anniversary of September 11.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Personal aide to the President Reggie Love and White House physician Dr. Jeffrey Kueter travel from the wreath laying ceremony at the Pentagon.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Greenwich Village restaurant Il Mulino becomes the New York chapter of the Presidential club as President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton meet over lunch on September 14.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




The President makes a fund-raising appearance for recently-converted Democrat Sen. Arlen Specter in Philadelphia on Sept. 15.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




At a GM plant in Warren, Ohio, Obama touts his economic plans and attends a roundtable discussion with GM workers.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Air Force One touches down in Youngstown for his GM roundtable. Trailing behind the President are Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. Betty Sutton (obscured) and Rep. Charlie Wilson.

Newscom/Pete Souza/White House/Sipa Press




Olympian Ryan Reser (in white) and Paralympian Myles Porter demonstrate the art of judo on the South Lawn on Sept. 16. The demonstration was part of the Obamas' effort to bring the 2016 Olympic games to Chicago.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




The curtain falls on the behind-the-scenes staff -- including the Secret Service, White House staffers and others -- at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus's annual dinner in Washington on September 16.

Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy




Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper visits the Oval Office on September 16.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




The President's niece, Savita, receives help from high places as the President helps her walk toward personal aide Reggie Love.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




The Situation Room, September 17.

Newscom/Sipa Press




Obama takes his health care barnstorming tour to students at the University of Maryland on September 17.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Obama talks with Prime Minister Donald Tuck of Poland in the President's office in the private residence on Sept. 17. National Security Council chief of staff Denis McDonough looks out the window during the call.

Pete Souza/White House




Obama in a meeting with senior staff in the Oval Office on Sept. 17, including (from left): Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor Pete Rouse, Director of the Office of Health Reform Nancy-Ann DeParle, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Senior Advisor David Axelrod, Communications Director Anita Dunn, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs Phil Schiliro, White House Counsel Greg Craig, Deputy Chief of Staff Mona Sutphen and Director of Scheduling Alyssa Mastromonaco.

Pete Souza/White House




Framed by Rahm Emanuel's arm, Pres. Obama listens on during a meeting with senior advisers in the Oval Office Sept. 18.

Pete Souza/White House




Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, says goodbye to Obama following his speech on innovation and sustainable growth at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, N.Y., Sept. 21.

Pete Souza/White House




Obama yuks it up on the Late Show with David Letterman on Sept. 21.

Pete Souza/White House




Obama preps for a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, N.Y., on Sept. 22.

Pete Souza/White House




Was Obama blocking a shot by Love, or fouling him? The controversy continues. The two play at St. Bartholomew's Church in New York Sept. 23.

Pete Souza/White House




On Sept. 24, Obama chats with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, United Nations Amb. Susan E. Rice, NSC Adviser Gen. Jim Jones and aide Gary Samore before the U.N. Security Council meeting.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza




Obama meets with Jones, Deputy National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and Emanuel at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel Sept. 24.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza




Obama returns home from the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh Sept. 25.

Official White House photo by Chuck Kennedy




Michelle Obama watches backstage as the President delivers a speech at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's awards dinner in Washington, D.C. Sept. 25.

Official White House photo by Samantha Appleton




Obama high-fives Chase Kerr, a Make-a-Wish child, in the Oval Office.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza




President Obama tests out a putter presented to him by golf legend Arnold Palmer in the Oval Office, before awarding the golf great a Congressional Gold Medal.

Official White House photo by Samantha Appleton




October 7: The President attends a briefing on Pakistan in the Situation Room of the White House, with Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Advisor Gen. James Jones, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Director of National Intelligence Adm. Dennis C. Blair, and CIA Director Leon Panetta.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza




The President and First Lady host an astronomy night for local middle school students on Oct. 7 to encourage them to pursue scientific discovery.

Newscom/Martin H. Simon/Pool/Sipa Press




October 7: Sasha and Malia Obama join the President on the South Lawn of the White House for a night of star-gazing.

Newscom/Martin H. Simon/Pool/Sipa Press




Star power: Obama peers at the night sky while the First Lady and John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, look on.

Newscom/UPI/Martin Simon/POOL




October 7: Michelle Obama finds out if the truth is really out there.

Newscom/Martin H. Simon/Pool/Sipa Press

Much has been made today of the fact that the nomination deadline for the Nobel Peace Prize is Feb. 1 -- just 12 days after President Obama took office.

But the winner isn't selected until much later, usually around mid-September. The Norwegian Nobel Committee, made up of five members appointed by the Norwegian Parliament, makes the decision. Here's the process, according to the committee's web site:

Nominators -- including members of governments, university professors, past Nobel laureates and members of the International Court of Justice -- must make their picks to the committee by Feb. 1. The committee usually receives between 150 and 200 nominations for the Peace Prize, but this year they received a record 205 nominations.

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Only three Democrats voted against both "robust" and modest public option amendments to the Senate Finance Committee's health care bill: Kent Conrad (D-ND), Max Baucus (D-MT), and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR).

We caught up with Conrad and Baucus yesterday--but what about Lincoln?

For now, Lincoln isn't commenting on the plan--a common refrain on the Hill given the extremely fledgling nature of the proposal. We should know more next week, though. The Finance Committee will vote on its bill Tuesday, and on Wednesday, Majority Leader Harry Reid will kick off the process of merging the Finance and HELP Committee proposals. And the shape of the bill that reaches will have a tremendous bearing on the fate of this, or any number of other, potential changes to it.

DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) released this statement, making it clear that Democrats will use Republican condemnation of President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize as an issue of the GOP's basic patriotism:

"The outrageous reaction by Rush Limbaugh, RNC Chairman Michael Steele, and others to President Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize is the latest sad example of Republicans putting politics before country by rooting for America to fail. House Republicans should immediately condemn these outrageous statements asserting that they are 'on the same side as the Taliban.'

"Rush Limbaugh and his Republican allies may, as Rush Limbaugh said, 'all agree with the Taliban and Iran,' but millions of Americans see the President's winning of the Nobel Peace Prize as an affirmation of our nation's values and it should be celebrated.

"Democrats and Republicans should join President Obama in seeing this award as a call to action against the common economic and security challenges we all share."

Gale Norton is being investigated by a federal grand jury for allegedly talking to Shell about a job, while she was Interior Secretary in 2006, reports National Journal. Both Norton and Shell are said to have received subpoenas.

The existence of the federal investigation was first reported last month by the Los Angeles Times. In a nutshell, the Feds have been looking at an episode in which Norton's Interior Department awarded three oil shale leases on federal land in Colorado -- potentially worth hundreds of billions -- to a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell. Two months later, Norton resigned, saying she had no job lined up. But later that year, she was hired by Shell as in-house counsel.

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