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It's Official: Associated Press: "A tally of the Electoral College vote affirms President Barack Obama's re-election. Vice President Joe Biden presided over a Joint Session of Congress Friday as four members of the House and Senate took turns announcing the votes that had been tallied in state capitals last month. ... The constitutional formality certifying the vote lacked the suspense of the November election but kept with tradition." Fine electoral vote: Obama 332, Romney 206. Final popular vote: Obama 65,899,660 votes, or 51.1 percent; Romney 60,932,152 votes, or 47.2 percent. Yep, 47 percent.
Team Obama's Campaign Violation: Politico: "President Obama’s 2008 campaign was fined $375,000 by the Federal Election Commission for campaign reporting violations — one of the largest fees ever levied against a presidential campaign, POLITICO has learned. The fine — laid out in detail in FEC documents that have yet to be made public — arose from an audit of the campaign, which was published in April. ... The major sticking point for the FEC appeared to be a series of missing 48-hour notices for nearly 1,300 contributions totally more than $1.8 million — an issue that lawyers familiar with the commission’s work say the FEC takes seriously. The notices must be filed on contributions of $1,000 or more that are received within the 20-day window of Election Day."
Sandy Aid, Part One: Washington Post: "The House has approved $9.7 billion in new aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy, a face-saving quick move taken three days after House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) earned scathing criticism from New York and New Jersey Republicans for canceling a late-night vote on the funds. The bill, which will allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay out claims to those who held federal flood insurance, was approved on a 354 to 67 vote. ... Boehner seems to have had reason to be concerned about bringing a larger $60 billion spending measure to the floor on Tuesday: All the votes against the smaller bill on Friday came from his own party members."
Sandy Aid, Part Two: New York Times: "The measure is the first, and least controversial, portion of a much larger aid package sought by the affected states to help homeowners and local governments recover costs associated with the storm. The House has pledged to take up the balance of the aid package on Jan. 15."
The GOP's Geographical Divide: Politico: "The divide between the Northeastern and Southern wings of the GOP just got a little wider. While the House passed emergency legislation Friday ... the regional breakdown of the vote was hard to overlook: nearly half of the 67 Republicans who voted against the measure hailed from the South, including Florida and Texas." The New York Times makes the same point with a nice graphic.
The Depressing Math of the NYC Subway: New York Times: "In the last month, the cases of two men who were pushed to their deaths on the tracks have focused attention on the subway system’s most harrowing outcome. But for the men and women who operate New York City’s trains, these episodes represent an occasion to induct two new people to a grim fraternity with hundreds of members. ... Operators who go five years without a '12-9'—transit code for a passenger under a train—should count themselves lucky. One operator, Kevin Harrington, 61, said he had recorded '10 or 11' since 1984, one fatal."
Programming Note: @JoshVoorhees is heading on vacation next week, so you'll have to wait until Monday, January 14, for the next edition of the PM. Until then @dpoliti will be running the show on the main blog and sending out the AM during the work week.
Hagel Nomination on the Way: Foreign Policy: "President Barack Obama is expected to name Chuck Hagel as his choice for defense secretary as early as Monday, as critics of the former Nebraska senator prepare to go to war to fight his expected nomination. White House officials and sources close to Hagel declined to confirm to The Cable that Hagel is the president's choice to be the replace Leon Panetta at the helm of the Pentagon, but several sources close to the process said have told The Cable that the White House and Hagel have been in touch on a regular basis and that Hagel is indeed the expected pick. Decisions about the timing and logistics of the announcement are being finalized now."
December's Jobs Numbers: Reuters: "U.S. employers kept their pace of hiring steady in December, falling short of the levels needed to bring down a still lofty unemployment rate and pointing to lackluster economic growth in 2013. Other data on Friday gave stronger signals on the health of the economy, with the U.S. service sector activity expanding the most in 10 months. Payrolls, excluding farm jobs, grew by 155,000 last month, the Labor Department said. That was a touch more than analysts' expectations and only slightly below the revised gain of 161,000 reported for November. The jobless rate was steady at 7.8 percent."
Moneybox: Why Are There Unemployed Buildings?
Malala Discharged From Hospital: Reuters: "A Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls' education has been discharged from a specialist British hospital after doctors said she was well enough to spend some time recovering with her family. Fifteen-year-old Malala Yousufzai, who was shot by the Taliban in October last year and brought to Britain for treatment, was discharged on Thursday but is due to be re-admitted in late January or early February for reconstructive surgery to her skull, doctors said."
A Few More Quick Hits From Slate—
- Crime: Dumb Criminal of the Week: The Drunk Driver Who Boasted About It on Facebook
- XX Factor: Conservatives Aren't Going To Win the War on Women
- Moneybox: Boards With Women On Them Are More Aggressive, And Their Companies Perform Better
- Future Tense: No, We Should Not Build Pro-Democracy Twitter Bots
Great Question: How Much Sex Was Everyone Having on Friends?
Better Question: What Does It Feel Like To Be a Hot Girl Who Gets Old?
See you back here on the 14th. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe, or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.