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President Obama this morning signed into law the bill repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

"I am just overwhelmed," Obama said as he took the stage among chants of "Yes we can!" and whoops from the audience. "This is a very good day."

"No longer will our country be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans who were forced to leave the military, regardless of their skills, no matter their bravery or their zeal, no matter their years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay," he said. "No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie."

Obama was joined on stage by Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen, Sens. Joe Lieberman, Susan Collins and Harry Reid and Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Patrick Murphy, an Iraq War veteran who had pushed for DADT repeal.

"In the coming days, we will begin the process laid out by this law," Obama said, adding that repeal will not go into effect immediately. "It is very important that servicemembers remember that."

He spoke directly to gay soldiers, and said he hoped those discharged under DADT will re-enlist once it is fully repealed.

"There will never be a full accounting of the heroism demonstrated by gay Americans in service to this country," he said. "As the first generation to serve openly in our armed services, you will stand for all those who came before you, and you will serve as role models for all those who will come after you."

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Senate Poised To Ratify START The Associated Press reports: "The Senate is poised to approve a nuclear arms pact with Russia, handing President Barack Obama a huge victory on his top foreign policy priority...The approval would mark a big comeback for Obama's arm controls efforts after the treaty appeared all but dead just weeks ago. It also would allow Obama to continue efforts to improve relations with Russia."

Obama's Day Ahead -- Signing DADT Repeal President Obama will deliver remarks and sign the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010, at 9:15 a.m. ET. He will meet at 10:15 a.m. ET with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

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Long before all this week's hoopla over Barbour's rose-tinted recollections of the segregationist Citizens' Councils, two major GOP donors who supported the controversial Swiftboat ads had already stopped their donations to the political action committee affiliated with Haley Barbour. The 527 organization known as Haley's PAC brought in $986,506 in 2008 -- but that number dropped to just $211,486 in 2009, according to recently disclosed IRS filings.

Though 2009 was an off-year in the election cycle, that remains a precipitous drop unmatched by other leadership PACs, including former Rep. Newt Gingrich's.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) did pretty well for herself in 2010. A prominent conservative figure who routinely appears on national television, she founded the tea party caucus, and was recently given a seat on the House Intelligence Committee. But after cruising to reelection victory in Minnesota, is she already setting her eyes on a 2012 senate run?

Bachmann's spokesman Doug Sachtleben told The Hill in a statement that "nothing's off the table for the future." Sachtleben declined to comment further to TPM.

Obviously, Bachmann's not running yet. But if she did -- how would she stack up next to first-term Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar?

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President Obama is scheduled to sign a bill repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, at 9:15 a.m. ET today.

The bill, which was passed by the House last Wednesday and the Senate on Saturday, was certified by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday in a ceremony that was attended by hundreds of supporters, including gay servicemembers.

The new law will, eventually, end the military's ban on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers. The policy will be repealed 60 days after Obama, Defense Secretary Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen all certify that the military is ready for repeal. That won't happen until the military completes its implementation plan, which includes extensive training and education for all branches of the armed forces.

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by Dafna Linzer, ProPublica

The White House is preparing an Executive Order on indefinite detention that will provide periodic reviews of evidence against dozens of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, according to several administration officials.

The draft order, a version of which was first considered nearly 18 months ago, is expected to be signed by President Obama early in the New Year. The order allows for the possibility that detainees from countries like Yemen might be released if circumstances there change.

But the order establishes indefinite detention as a long-term Obama administration policy and makes clear that the White House alone will manage a review process for those it chooses to hold without charge or trial.

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Fox News' Shep Smith has been shellacking Republicans left and right for opposing the 9/11 first responders bill, and today he zeroed in on Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) for vowing to slow down or block the bill until the next session of Congress.

In this latest installment, he showed a picture of Coburn and said:

He is the man who is vowing to slow this down or block it, so that the necessary funding for the illnesses of the first responders who made it to Ground Zero to try to save lives on the day that America changed -- remember? This is the Senator who is vowing to block it so that it doesn't make it through. Sen. Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma.

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Freshman Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who has been subjected to much public criticism after he was absent for this past weekend's votes on the DREAM Act and the successful repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in order to attend a family Christmas party -- which his office described as "a family obligation that he just could not break -- is now apologizing for the fumble.

West Virginia MetroNews Network reports:

"Let me apologize to anybody and everybody within our listening and reading areas. I'm very sorry for missing the two votes," Manchin said during a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

Manchin says his oldest daughter is divorced and has one child from that first marriage. She and her ex-husband take turns when it comes to custody on the Christmas holiday.


"Saturday was our Christmas and Saturday evening was our Christmas dinner. I got up Sunday and came back to Washington to make the votes I had to make," he said.

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Jeb Bush may not be considering a return to elective politics, but if he were, a Senate seat could well be within his reach.

In a PPP poll released today, Bush was the only Republican to lead Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) in theoretical 2012 matchups. The poll found that 49% of respondents said they would vote for Bush if he ran for the seat, while 44% said they would vote for Nelson.

Rep. Connie Mack was the only other candidate tested in the survey to come within single digits of Nelson, polling just eight points behind, 44% to 36%. Sen. George LeMieux -- who was appointed to fill the Senate seat vacated by Mel Martinez in 2009, but who did not seek reelection this year -- trailed Nelson 47% to 36%, while Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos polled 12 points behind Nelson, 44% to 32%. Against State Rep. Adam Hasner, Nelson led 46% to 30% in the poll.

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