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McCain Wants a Front-Row Seat: Foreign Policy's Josh Rogin: "The committee that will soon vet the next secretary of state will have a new Republican heavyweight next year: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the man leading the charge against potential nominee U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. McCain told The Cable he will join the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and also remain on the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) .... McCain, who finishes his six-year term as ranking Republican on the SASC this year, will not challenge Sen. Bob Corker for the leadership post on the SFRC, but his presence will be felt, especially during the confirmation hearings, which could be especially contentious this time around if Rice is chosen as the nominee. Those nomination hearings would be chaired by Sen. John Kerry—that is, unless Kerry gets the nod himself."
Not a Done Deal Just Yet: NBC News: "McCain's office confirms to NBC News that the story is accurate, as are the quotes in it. Communications Director Brian Rogers notes, however, that the Arizona Republican has 'expressed interest' but the decision is not yet final. ... Two aides to the Foreign Relations Committee tell NBC News that they are unaware of McCain's intention to join the committee—so far. 'We have not heard anything of the sort,' a Republican aide said. But the aide couldn't rule it out only saying, 'We haven't had committee elections yet.'"
Speaking of the Senate: Washington Post: "The Senate has moved to block a Pentagon plan to send hundreds of additional spies overseas, citing cost concerns and management failures that have hampered the Defense Department’s existing espionage efforts. A military spending bill approved by the Senate last week contains language barring the Pentagon from using funds to expand its espionage ranks until it has provided more details on what the program will cost and how the extra spies would be used. The measure offers a harsh critique of the Pentagon’s espionage record, saying that the Defense Department “needs to demonstrate that it can improve the management of clandestine [human intelligence] before undertaking any further expansion."
And of Cutbacks: Washington Post: "Under intense pressure to trim its budget, the Army is dismissing a rising number of soldiers who do not meet its fitness standards, drawing from a growing pool of troops grappling with obesity. Obesity is now the leading cause of ineligibility for people who want to join the Army, according to military officials, who see expanding waistlines in the warrior corps as a national security concern.Between 1998 and 2010, the number of active duty military personnel deemed obese more than tripled. In 2010, 86,183 troops, or 5.3 percent of the force, received at least one clinical diagnosis of obesity, according to the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center."
Obama Lends His Voice to Michigan Unions: Reuters: "President Barack Obama on Monday threw his support behind labor unions opposed to a Republican-led drive for 'right-to-work' laws in Michigan, saying efforts to pass such measures were not about economics but about politics. Obama used a visit to an auto plant in the cradle of the American labor movement to weigh in on the controversial push in the state legislature to impose new restrictions on unions, part of the Democratic president's political base that helped him win re-election last month. ... Union members and others opposed to Michigan becoming a right-to-work state plan major protests in the state capital Lansing this week. Organizers expect thousands at a rally on Tuesday when the state legislature reconvenes."
DSK Settles Civil Suit, This Time For Real: Associated Press: "Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn and a hotel maid settled her lawsuit Monday over sexual assault allegations that sank his political career and spurred scrutiny of his dealings with women on two continents. State Supreme Court Justice Douglas McKeon announced that after lengthy negotiations in the suit brought by Nafissatou Diallo, the parties "came together and put terms of a settlement on the record." The amount of the settlement was kept confidential. Strauss-Kahn did not attend the hearing on Monday at a Bronx courthouse. Diallo, her hair covered by a leopard-print scarf, looked composed and resolute as the deal was announced."
Waiting on Cory: Politico: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is “vulnerable” and out of touch with his state, charged Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a possible Christie challenger, on Monday. 'We think to any Democrat, Christie is vulnerable,' Booker said on CNN’s Starting Point. 'And I think as it should be, because there’s a lot of issues in the state he’s not falling in line with, from women’s issues, from environmental issues, from really going in a balanced way.'
NTSB Confirms Jenni Rivera Killed in Crash: Associated Press: "Jenni Rivera launched her career hawking cassette recordings of her songs at flea markets, but a powerful voice, soulful singing style and frank discussion of personal troubles powered her to the heights of a male-dominated industry, transforming her into the one of the biggest stars of the genre known as grupero. Her life was cut short at its peak on Sunday by an airplane crash in northern Mexico that also killed six friends and co-workers. The 43-year-old mother of five and grandmother of two became a symbol of resilience for millions of fans on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. Her fame grew as she branched out into acting, appearing in independent film, reality TV and the televised singing competition La Voz Mexico."
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