"Employers boosted payrolls by a respectable 132,000 in November, but the unemployment rate edged up to 4.5 percent as jobseekers streamed into the labor market by the thousands with the approaching holidays," reports the Associated Press.
More AP: "The tally of new jobs added to the economy last month marked an improvement from the 79,000 new positions generated in October and was the most since September, the Labor Department reported Friday. It mostly a cheerful message at a time of year when shopping peaks."
Politics of Foley:
The Washington Times waits with bated breath for the Foley report from the House ethics committee. Democratic agenda:
The Wall Street Journal's Harwood reports that skeptics see deficit-reduction pressures limiting what the new Congress can deliver on its promise to make college more affordable.
Harwood also reports that Peter Orszag is a "prime candidate" to head the Congressional Budget Office under the Democrats. Orszag has been working with former Treasury Secretary Rubin on the Hamilton Project to develop centrist Democratic economic policies.
Ben Evans reports for the AP that Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI) will replace Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) as the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. LINK
Robert Pear of the New York Times writes up how the new lobbying-reform minded Democratic majority hasn't yet seemed to change its usual fundraising ways among the K-Street crowd. LINK
Speaker Pelosi is considering a tobacco ban in the Speaker's Lobby outside the House chamber. LINK
"I'm not an advocate of smoking," Pelosi said yesterday, adding that she hadn't yet decided on a ban. "I think it's dangerous to your health." The San Francisco Chronicle on same: LINK
In this week's National Journal, James A. Barnes reports that Democratic insiders predict that Sen. Clinton will be their party's presidential nominees, but they're not convinced she'll be the strongest candidate the party could field. GOP insiders, for their part, are looking to Sen. McCain. LINK
Note that Sen. Obama first appeared on the Democratic Insiders' top 10 rankings for 2008 this May, when he occupied the lowest spot. He remains "well behind Clinton, but his celebrity has propelled him past everyone else."
You can see National Journal's "Top 10" from both parties here: LINK
David Saltonstall of the New York Daily News can't resist the Gotham reporter's dream of a Hillary Clinton vs. Rudy Giuliani showdown courtesy of some new Marist Institute poll numbers. LINK
Scott Helman reports in the Boston Globe that in 1994 Gov. Romney -- who was then running for Senate -- seemed somewhat less supportive of a federal ban against same-sex marriage than he is now. LINK
"Comments Governor Mitt Romney made during his 1994 Senate bid, in which he said the gay and lesbian community 'needs more support from the Republican Party,' resurfaced yesterday, posing a potential hurdle as he appeals to conservatives for a probable presidential campaign," writes Helman.
"Bay Windows, the Boston-based gay and lesbian newspaper, republished excerpts from an August 1994 interview the paper did with Romney during his campaign against Senator Edward M. Kennedy. In the interview, Romney said it should be up to states to decide whether to allow same-sex marriage and he criticized Republican 'extremists' who imposed their positions on the party."