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A conservative reporter from right-leaning CNS News thought he would play gotcha journalist and ask gay Congressman Barney Frank about gay and straight soldiers showering together. Big mistake. Huge. Barney totally eviscerates the guy and exposes him as a fool.

Now that "don't ask, don't tell" is as much as repealed, conservatives are going back to their silly old defense that gay men and straight men can't possibly be naked together without everyone being turned into pillars of salt and the moon exploding or something. The Distinguished Gentleman from Massachusetts, our favorite defender of the "radical homosexual agenda," immediately goes on the offensive and dismisses the question with mock horror and then says that gay men and straight men have already been showering together for years, including when "don't ask, don't tell" was in effect. Can we finally put this lame defense to rest for good now?

It really is amazing to watch the fearless and witty Frank completely dismantle an opponent. The only thing that's missing is him snapping his fingers and saying, "You got served!" Still good on CNS for putting this up on its website for the rest of us to enjoy. Since Barney's too classy to say it, we're gonna going to. You got served, Mary!

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The Family Research Council and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) both spent a lot of energy this year fighting the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. But that doesn't mean they'll be working together to un-repeal it.

FRC claimed in a blog post yesterday that McCain (R-AZ) will continue to lead the fight.

"We'll be spending the next couple of weeks reassessing the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' debate. In fact, I've already been in conversations with Hill leaders about holding hearings in the New Year, as well as statutory and legislative oversight steps that can be taken to turn back aspects of the repeal and slow down--if not stop--the rest," the post reads.

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Update 2:31 p.m.: By voice vote, the Senate passed the newly-trimmed 9/11 first responders bill. It now goes to the House for expedited passage.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has dropped his objections to the 9/11 first responders bill, allowing Dems to circumvent procedural roadblocks and pass it quickly this afternoon.

Dems rounded up the votes they needed to break Coburn's filibuster earlier this week, and spent much of the morning and early afternoon negotiating with him to prevent him from delaying passage of the legislation by several days.

Coburn's price: a reduction of the price tag from $6.2 billion to $4.2 billion.

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According to a new PPP poll of North Carolina voters, President Obama's standing has improved over the past month in theoretical 2012 matchups with four possible Republican candidates for the GOP presidential nomination. He now leads each prospective challenger except Mike Huckabee in head-to-head matches.

In the poll, Huckabee led Obama 46% to 45%. One month ago, a PPP poll showed Huckabee ahead 48% to 44%. Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney were tied last month at 44%, though Obama now leads in that contest 46% to 43%. Against Newt Gingrich, Obama's lead grew from one point a month ago to six points in the latest poll, with the president now on top 48% to 42%.

Sarah Palin dropped furthest of the four Republicans since the last poll, with the spread in that race ballooning from just five points last month to 14 points this month.

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In the initial fallout over Gov. Haley Barbour's (R-MS) praise of the segregationist Citizens Council groups from the Civil Rights movement era, one conservative media outlet seems to have really bungled their attempts to back up the potential White House candidate: Fox Nation.

In a profile in the Weekly Standard, Barbour had recalled the group -- which was founded to oppose school desegregation, and launched economic boycotts to cut off employment and business for African-Americans who sought out civil rights (including a famous incident in Barbour's hometown) -- in positive terms:

"You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK. Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders. In Yazoo City they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town. If you had a job, you'd lose it. If you had a store, they'd see nobody shopped there. We didn't have a problem with the Klan in Yazoo City."


Fox News came to the rescue, with a posting on their unabashedly right-wing Fox Nation website:

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When President Obama signed a bill repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell today, he wasn't actually repealing the 17-year-old policy. The law directs the Pentagon to drop the policy -- but only after Obama, the defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff all certify that the military is ready for it.

And the question has been how long that may take. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been purposely tight-lipped about a time line, refusing to publicly make even vague estimates.

Obama, though, gave a ballpark to The Advocate's Kerry Eleveld.

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President Obama, although he still supports civil unions over same-sex marriage, said yesterday that he believes the Defense of Marriage Act should be repealed.

"Repealing DOMA, getting ENDA [a bill to protect LGBT people from discrimination] done, those are things that should be done," Obama told The Advocate the night before signing Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal into law. "I think those are natural next steps legislatively. I'll be frank with you, I think that's not going to get done in two years. We're on a three- or four-year time frame unless there's a real transformation of attitudes within the Republican caucus."

The federal Defense of Marriage Act, which was passed in 1996, defines marriage as strictly heterosexual. It's currently facing multiple legal challenges, including two cases from Massachusetts in which a federal judge already ruled that part of the law is unconstitutional. Obama's Justice Department is defending DOMA.

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After months of GOP obstruction, a bill to help 9/11 first responders cover their mounting health care costs is expected to zip through Congress. In addition to being a feather in the cap of New York and New Jersey Democrats -- who have been pushing the bill for months -- it will likely enjoy the distinction of being the last legislative item to pass the unusually productive 111th Congress lame duck session.

Republicans have blocked the bill in both the House and Senate over objections to its cost and financing mechanisms, but with a combination of tweaks and public pressure, Democrats say they've rounded up the 60 votes they'll need to break the filibuster. And with members eager to skip town for the holidays, the House and Senate have lined up to expedite final passage.

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President Obama carried the critical swing state of Florida in 2008, and according to a new poll, he's leading there again in 2012.

In a new PPP poll, Obama leads all five potential Republican challengers matched against him in the Sunshine State. Mitt Romney comes closest to catching Obama, trailing by just two points, 46% to 44%. Romney is the only challenger to come within the poll's 3% margin of error.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Speaker Newt Gingrich each came within five points of Obama. Huckabee trailed Obama 49% to 44%, while Gingrich garnered 42% to Obama's 47%. Against Florida's Sen.-elect Marco Rubio -- who has been touted in some circles as a rising conservative star -- Obama's ahead 48% to 40%.

Obama's only double digit lead in the poll came against Sarah Palin, whom he led 52% to 38%.

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The Central Intelligence Agency has created a new group dedicated to analyze the impact of WikiLeaks on the United States's foreign relationships and the agency's operations. The name of this new department is the WikiLeaks Task Force. WTF indeed.

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