National Journal Online

QUICK TAKE: Obama: 'Deep Down... There's a Laziness In Me'

The personality trait President Obama says he most deplores about himself and others is not exactly one you'd expect from, presumably, one of the busiest people in the world: Laziness.

"You're lazy?" Barbara Walters incredulously asked Obama, sitting alongside the first lady, in an interview scheduled to air Friday night, but previewed on Friday morning.

Obama then added the trait he truly most dislikes in others is cruelty. "I can't stand cruel people," he said.

Posted: Friday, December 23, 2011 - 10:40am

Whatever Happened to Sarah Palin?

Sarah Palin always had a knack for making a splash just when she was teetering on the edge of irrelevance. Which means as the Iowa caucus looms, she's bound to make an appearance sometime soon.

Posted: Friday, December 23, 2011 - 10:40am

Payroll Tax, Jobless Benefit and Medicare Means Testing Version of 'Twas The Night Before Christmas

National Journal congressional correspondent Major Garrett reflects—in verse—on the battle over the now-settled payroll-tax package.

With apologies, profound apologies, to the regal legacy of Clement Clarke Moore

Partisan creatures were stirring, calling each other a louse

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Posted: Friday, December 23, 2011 - 10:40am

QUICK TAKE: U.S., Taliban Nearly Reached a Deal Last Month -- Report

The U.S. and the Taliban came close to a deal last month in which the Afghan group would have renounced international terrorism and the U.S. would have sent a handful of Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Qatar to be placed under house arrest, a senior administration official told The Washington Post

Posted: Friday, December 23, 2011 - 10:40am

Late Night Loved Obama's Christmas Shopping Trip; Plus: Paul as Hobbit Leader? -- VIDEO

Late-night hosts had fun with President Obama's Virginia shopping trip this week.

"Obama bought about $200 worth of Christmas presents at Best Buy," Jimmy Fallon said Thursday. "Then it got awkward when he asked the Geek Squad if they'd fix the economy."

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Posted: Friday, December 23, 2011 - 10:40am

Poll: Heller, Berkely Tied in Nevada Senate Race

A new poll released early Friday shows Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Rep. Shelley Berkely, D-Nev., running neck-and-neck in what could be a pivotal race in determining which party controls the Senate following the 2012 elections.A new poll released early Friday shows Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Rep.

Posted: Friday, December 23, 2011 - 10:40am

Romney Stays Busy in New Hampshire

CONWAY, N.H. – After a day in northern New Hampshire that included sprinting up streets to knock on doors, pumping gas for his 45- foot-long bus and buying a Christmas gift for his wife, Mitt Romney returned on Thursday to the campaign setting where he has felt most at home -- a town hall meeting.

Posted: Friday, December 23, 2011 - 10:40am

Bachmann, Huntsman, Santorum Won't Appear on Virginia Primary Ballot

Three Republican presidential contenders will not be appearing on Virginia's primary ballot, after missing today's 5 p.m. petition-filing deadline, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum all missed the deadline and will not be in the running on March 6 for the commonwealth's 50 delegates.

Posted: Friday, December 23, 2011 - 10:40am

Behind the Scenes of the House Republicans' Self-Inflicted Wound

CORRECTION: The original version of this story misidentified the House majority leader. It is Eric Cantor.

There was no formal cease-fire.

The great Christmas conflict over tax cuts ended at the staff level. Boehner’s chief of staff, Barry Jackson, cut the deal with Reid’s chief of staff, David Krone. If the weeklong tussle over a two-month or one-year extension of payroll taxes was over principle, the principal antagonist, Boehner, in the end, had neither the will nor the stomach to directly sue for peace.

Posted: Friday, December 23, 2011 - 10:40am

The Reasons for Democratic Optimism in Wisconsin

On Wednesday, I took a closer look at the reasons Republicans should be optimistic about the chances that GOP Gov. Scott Walker will survive a recall effort. Today, a glance at the reasons Democrats should be bullish about the prospect of unseating the first-term governor:

Posted: Friday, December 23, 2011 - 10:40am