Sen.-elect Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampSanders, Democrats introduce minimum wage bill GOP senators distance themselves from House ObamaCare repeal bill Separating fact from fiction in the Regulatory Accountability Act MORE (D-N.D.) was also given a spot on the Banking Committee, as well as the Agriculture, Small Business, Indian Affairs and Homeland Security and Government Affairs committees.

And Sen.-elect Angus KingAngus KingOvernight Healthcare: Senate GOP to start writing its healthcare bill Trump budget chief: Medicaid cuts won’t affect anyone now on program Medicare’s billion challenge: preventing older adult falls MORE, an independent from Maine, was rewarded for choosing to caucus with Democrats with seats on the powerful Budget, Armed Services, Rules and Intelligence committees.

TOMORROW’S AGENDA TODAY: President Obama will host a Hanukkah reception at the White House.

TWEET OF THE DAY: “Today is most definitely brought to you by the number 12.” — Sesame Street

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Victory and defeat is temporary. Depending on what happens and where we go, all of us, we may obviously meet again” — Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) in his farewell speech in the Senate


Big Bird was the gaffe of the year, and Paul RyanPaul RyanGOP leaders launch internal review into leak Opinion | Michael Steele: Gianforte better put his ‘big boy’ pants on Washington needs high-level science and technology expertise – now! MORE beat President Obama for top political searches, according to a review of the top search terms of 2012, released by Google.

Obama beat boy band One Direction and quarterback Tim Tebow to top Facebook's most-talked-about public figures of the year, according to the social network's review of 2012 trends.

Obama has the support of just over half of American adults, a number roughly equal to that of President George W. Bush at the beginning of his second term. The survey, from The Wall Street Journal, also showed that 57 percent of Americans believe they "somewhat" or "strongly" relate to the president. By comparison, 42 percent of respondents said they related to Obama "only a little" or "not really."

A poll by Quinnipiac University showed that more than half of New York City voters do not believe Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonHollywood's war on Trump is part of liberal America's 'resistance' Federal judge drops lawsuit against Clinton over Benghazi Clinton: ‘I don’t die’ despite the right’s ‘best efforts’ MORE should mount a mayoral campaign. But while 51 percent are against the idea, 46 percent support a Clinton for Mayor campaign.


Both House campaign committees are engaged in a fast-escalating fight over the "fiscal cliff," with Republicans slamming Democrats over spending, while Democrats continue to target the GOP on taxes.

ILLINOIS: The wife of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), who resigned from Congress amid a federal ethics investigation and diagnosis of bipolar disorder, said Tuesday she would not seek her husband's former congressional seat. Sandi Jackson, an alderman in Chicago, told the Chicago Tribune that she plans to remain on the city council and does not intend to seek federal office.

PENNSYLVANIA: Rep. Mark Critz (D-Pa.), who narrowly lost his reelection bid in November, told The Hill that where he can find a job will play a "big factor" in whether he runs again.

"I'm a middle-class guy. I've got to get a job. Depending on what job I get may determine whether I look at this again — if I get a job down here, or if I get one back in the district. That's a big factor," he said. "I've got a family, I've got a mortgage, so I've got to do the things that are necessary to be the father and the husband."


SOUTH CAROLINA: Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) said he won't run for the Senate against any of his colleagues in South Carolina's congressional delegation — including Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamSenate panel could pass new Russia sanctions this summer Overnight Cybersecurity: Bad Russian intel may have swayed Comey's handling of Clinton probe | Apple sees spike in data requests | More subpoenas for Flynn | DOJ's plan for data warrants Overnight Finance: GOP bill would leave 23M more uninsured, says CBO | Trump aides defend budget | Mnuchin asks for clean debt hike before August | Ryan says House could pass bill without border tax MORE (R-S.C.). But he told The Hill that he wouldn't rule out a bid for the seat being vacated by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) if someone else is picked to fill out DeMint's term.


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that he wasn't responsible for helping President Obama to win a second term. "First of all, I didn't help [Obama] win," Christie told ABC News. "I was doing my job.”

Christie also said concerns that his weight would prevent him from serving as president were "ridiculous."

Obama's top pollster said the Republican Party has a 'tolerance problem' and predicted it will continue to struggle at the ballot box if its members don't have a major tonal change. "If Republicans approach this as if they have a Latino problem, I think that they are missing a larger dynamic that's in place right now. I believe that the Republican Party has a tolerance problem," Obama pollster Joel Benenson said at event hosted by the center-left group Third Way.

Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said that Democrats did not have trouble wooing married women, but that the gap in support for Obama among that demographic group was simply reflective of the fact the Obama campaign turned out more single women.

The GOP's immediate focus: defending presumed Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli and New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie in their contests next year, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said.

Former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul will hit the paid-speaking circuit after retiring from Congress next month.

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