Suzy Khimm

Transformers

Trent Lott is tired of being stereotyped. It's two weeks after the election, and Lott is at a Marriott hotel in Washington, D.C., in order to address the annual forum of the American League of Lobbyists. The profession, of course, took a beating from both presidential candidates during the campaign that just finished. "This year was extremely tough," laments Dave Wenhold, the group's incoming president. "We're worn down, and they've been slapping us around, ... and many lobbyists won't speak up for themselves." But Trent Lott will.

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In his Washington Post column today, Robert Samuelson attempts to make the case that lobbyists--vilified throughout the campaign as corrupt peddlers of sleaze--are in fact the nation's unsung defenders of the poor: A second myth is that lobbying favors the wealthy, including corporations, because only they can afford the cost. As a result, government favors the rich and ignores the poor and middle class. Actually, the facts contradict that. Sure, the wealthy extract privileges from government, but mainly they're its servants...the poor and middle class do have powerful advocates.

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The front-runner for U.S. Trade Representative--California Representative Xavier Becerra--is already setting off alarm bells among some cheerleaders of free trade. Becerra was a prominent figure in the House opposition to the Central American Free Trade Agreement and has publicly declared that he regrets voting for NAFTA. Accordingly, the prospect of the Becerra pick has raised "a lot of anxiety" within some trade policy circles, says Paul Blustein, a fellow at the Brookings Institute.

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Mumbai 11/29 News

Indian commandos retook the Taj Mahal hotel, ending the three-day terrorist siege. The death toll is now at 195, including at least 6 Americans. Local police claim that only 10 terrorists entered the city to carry out the attacks. Hotel officials deny earlier reports that the Westerners were singled out and targeted. Pakistan's foreign minister cut short his four-day visit to the country. Some U.S. intelligence officials say there's increasing evidence that Pakistani-based Lashkar-e-Taiba was responsible.

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Mumbai 11/28 News

At least two Americans have been killed in the attacks, and five hostages were found dead at the Chabad center. The death toll now stands at 143. Indian commandos are still battling pockets of resistant militants, with heavy fighting at the Chabad center yesterday and continuing at Taj Mahal hotel today. The attacks are certain to complicate U.S.

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At least one British national, a Japanese, and an Australian were among the 104 people killed.Some hostages have been freed, but others--including eight Israelis in a Jewish outreach center--are still being held.The Indian PM claims the attackers were based "outside the country" and says that India will not tolerate "neighbors" harboring such militants.Experts question the existence of the "Deccan Mujahedeen," which has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but caution against jumping to the conclusion that Al-Qaeda is responsible.Speculation about the attackers' identity has centered around

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Hillary used to tout her husband's globetrotting credentials as an asset to her presidential campaign. But now that she's being vetted for Secretary of State, Bill's financial and philanthropic entanglements abroad could prove to be more of a liability.

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Defending Sarah

It's a beautiful Saturday afternoon in October, and, as Republican Representative Chris Shays drives between churches in his affluent Connecticut district, he is talking about the possibility of being knifed. "Rahm Emanuel--if I got a knife, it would be in my belly," he says, referring to the combative head of the Democratic Caucus. "With Nancy," he continues, alluding to the House speaker, "it would be in my back." He then goes on to tell a story about an encounter that took place two years ago at the House gym.

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Not All Bad News For Women

I appreciated Kate’s thoughtful post on how painful it’s occasionally been to be a woman during this race. Having supported Clinton early on in the race, then switched over, I was disappointed that Obama made no mention of her run in his acceptance speech last night. Still, it bears pointing out that, in fact, women did make some small steps forward yesterday.

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We asked a few politicos if they have any Election Day rituals or superstitions that they adhere to. Here's Larry Sabato, political analyst and director of the UVA Center for Politics. I refuse to return any telephone calls asking me what I’ve heard about turnout. I refuse to watch any news shows because they distort what’s actually going on. I learned that there’s no such thing as light or medium turnout--turnout is always massive and heavy, it just so happens that this year it is, but every single time they always say it’s going to be.

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