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Jon Stewart last night continued his impassioned efforts to draw attention to the 9/11 first responders bill that was filibustered by Senate Republicans, criticizing the major television networks for not mentioning the bill in their evening broadcast for months.

"Although, to be fair, it's not every day that Beatles songs come to iTunes," Stewart joked.

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According to the federal racketeering indictment that came down Wednesday, former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick demanded a lot in exchange for a city contract. One of those things was, allegedly, all-expense-paid trips to swanky locales like Las Vegas via the private jets of city contractors.

In one case, according to the indictment, Kilpatrick had a couple of top aides inform the owner of a company that managed millions of Detroit pension funds that Kilpatrick wasn't happy the contractor had supported his opponent in the 2005 election. So the unnamed contractor allegedly flew Kilpatrick and five of the mayor's friends to Vegas for a golf trip in April 2007 -- a golf trip that included hotels, meals, limo service, concert tickets and massages -- to the tune of $16,000.

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Today's Matt Lauer nabbed what seems to be the first interview with recently jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange this morning. The defiant Assange maintained that the allegations of rape leveled against him was "incredible" adding that it has "been a very successful smear campaign so far." Lauer asked Assange about looming espionage charges based on software Assange is alleged to have provided in assistance to Pvt. Bradley Manning in uploading leaked documents, to which he claimed no specific knowledge.

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Despite the recent chatter that Obama could face a primary challenge in 2012, a new poll of New Hampshire Democrats finds that those concerns are probably overblown.

The poll, conducted by Magellan Data and Mapping Strategies, matched Obama against three Democrats - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT.) None of the races were even close.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they would vote for Obama if Clinton were to challenge him, while just 28% said they'd support Clinton. Against Dean, Obama held a staggering 68% lead, with 78% of respondents supporting him in that scenario versus 10% who supported Dean. With Sanders as a challenger, the gap was even larger, with Obama on top 79% to 8%.

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Sarah Palin may have her own TV show, a gig on Fox News, and two books to her name, but there's one thing she is unlikely to add to her resume, according to a number of recent polls: the presidency.

Of course, it's still very, very early. And with nearly two years until Election Day 2012, anything could happen. But in hypothetical matchups with President Obama, Palin consistently polls very poorly. In the last week or so, three national polls found Obama leading her by double digits, including an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll out this week that had Obama crushing her by 22 points, 55% to 33%.

Among the GOP frontrunners for the Republican presidential nomination, Palin has the worst spread in head-to-heads with Obama. The TPM Poll Average has her trailing Obama 51.1%-39.0%. Meanwhile, the TPM Poll Average has Obama tied with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 45.4%. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney trails Obama by less than half a percentage point, 44.8%-44.5%.

Even Newt Gingrich polls closer to Obama than Palin does. The TPM Poll Average has Obama leading Gingrich 49.0% to 44.8%.

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1||December 15, 2010: Politico hosts its "A Toast to the Holidays" party at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington.||Ryder Haske&&

2||Politico chief Washington correspondent Mike Allen. Allen pens Politico's "Playbook," a morning roundup of news around Washington.||Ryder Haske&&

3||Tom WiIliams, staff photographer for Roll Call, and Susan Davis, Congressional correspondent for National Journal.||Ryder Haske&&

4||Colin Crowell, of Crowell Strategies, Ana Marie Cox, Washington correspondent for GQ, and Gerard J. Waldron, a partner at Covington and Burling.||Ryder Haske&&

5||Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) and Joel Davidson, an MBA candidate at George Washington University.||Ryder Haske&&

6||||Ryder Haske&&

7||Dan Balz, political columnist for the Washington Post, and Roger Simon, chief political columnist for Politico.||Ryder Haske&&

8||Joe Williams, deputy White House editor for Politico, and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan.||Ryder Haske&&

9||Scott Conroy, White House reporter for Real Clear Politics, Alex Conant, communications director for Tim Pawlenty's Freedom First PAC, and David Mark, senior editor for Politico.||Ryder Haske&&

10||||Ryder Haske&&

11||Frank Fahrenkopf Jr., president and CEO of The American Gaming Association and Lloyd Hand, senior counsel for King and Spalding.||Ryder Haske&&

12||C-SPAN producers Lauren Pulte and Austen Williams.||Ryder Haske&&

13||Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Politico reporter Chris Frates, Rebecca Cooper, anchor/reporter for ABC 7 in Washington, and Kathy LaHood.||Ryder Haske&&

14||Tony Podesta, Norm Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Mary Fahrenkopf and Frank Fahrenkopf Jr., president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, and Lloyd Hand, senior counsel at King and Spalding.||Ryder Haske&&

15||||Ryder Haske&&

After a bumpy ride, and a brief, unexpected revolt by rank and file Democrats, the House passed President Obama's tax plan late Thursday night by a vote of 277 to 148. The vast majority of the 'no' votes were cast by Democrats.

Because the package that passed the House is identical to the version that passed the Senate earlier this week, the bill will head directly to the White House for Obama's signature.

House Democratic leaders had planned to tie a bow around the Obama tax cuts early this afternoon. But a bloc of angry progressives scuttled that plan. In a move that surprised aides and members, they temporarily derailed a key procedural measure required to pass the bill. The tactic was meant to register their disapproval with the legislation, and the terms of the debate, both of which were designed without their input.

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