The Note: Not Just a Slogan

Beau Biden won't be the next senator from Delaware, but could still be the one after that: "Beau Biden, son of Vice President-elect Joe Biden, departed the United States Wednesday morning en route to Iraq, Delaware National Guard spokesman Nathan Bright told ABC News," per ABC's Matthew Jaffe. "Biden and his unit -- the 261st Signal Brigade - left Ft. Bliss, Texas, at 11am local time, Bright said, stopping first in New England and then Europe before moving on to a staging area outside of Iraq for a 'few weeks of training and environmental acclimation.' "

Now this really would be change: "Advocates for Washington voting rights are lobbying President-elect Barack Obama to put 'Taxation Without Representation' license plates on the presidential limousine," The Hill's Jordy Yager reports. "President Clinton had the plates on his limo, but President Bush, who opposes giving D.C.'s representative in Congress a vote, replaced them, in one of his first acts as president, with D.C. plates that do not include the taxation slogan."

Fire it up for 2012: "I'm not ruling anything out for the future, but I'm not making any specific plans," Huckabee told reporters at a briefing to promote his new book, "Do the Right Thing," per the AP's Stephen Ohlemacher.

On Gov. Sarah Palin's ability to "leapfrog over the process" that other Republicans have to endure to become national political figures: "I'm not frustrated by it," Huckabee said. "It's not a resentment on her part. It's an envy."

Speaking of envy: "She walks into the hot spotlight and she's a blank slate nobody knows so Republicans are fired up," Huckabee added. "She didn't have to go through any the debates, she didn't have to go through the primaries, she didn't have to have people pick her or pick someone else against her. State parties did not have to divide from one to 12 ways over her. So it was a remarkable ability for her to come in at a level that is an extraordinary benefit to her."

The latest on the gay marriage initiative in California: "The California Supreme Court voted 6 to 1 on Wednesday to review legal challenges to Proposition 8, the voter initiative that restored a ban on same-sex marriage, but refused to permit gay weddings to resume pending a final decision," the Los Angeles Times' Maura Dolan and Jessica Garrison report.

What happened? "Perhaps the most notable change in the gay marriage vote was among blacks: While most other groups moved away from a ban on gay marriage, African-Americans moved toward it, voting 70-30 percent in favor this year, compared with 59-41 percent eight years ago," per ABC's Nik Bonovich. "Strikingly, blacks broadly favored the gay marriage ban despite their almost unanimous support for Barack Obama, who'd opposed the initiative, Proposition 8. Indeed, among non-black Obama voters in California, 74 percent opposed Prop. 8. Blacks were more aligned with John McCain's voters, who favored it overwhelmingly, 84-16 percent."

The Kicker:

"You're 12 years old!" Barack Obama, referring to the dozen cupcakes set up for his running mate's birthday.

"Maybe in dog years!" Joe Biden, laughing.

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