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What the White House is Talking About:

President Obama's approval rating keeps rising.

What the White House Press Corps is Talking About:

This afternoon the president heads to Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, to spend time with wounded service members. Mark Knoller counts this as the 29th visit by Obama to a military hospital.

(There was also a rousing discussion in the briefing room this morning among the audio-video White House team (multi-networks) as to what the *sexiest* holiday song is. “Santa Baby” was determined to be the winner. Eartha Kitt had the best version.)

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year:

If you're into Christmas and the holidays and all that. I'd say I'm at about a 6-7 on a scale of 1-10 excitement over holiday season. But this morning I got a sneak peek tour of the White House Christmas decorations, and it might have pushed me into 8 territory.

This was cool; they did huge columns of red bows in the entrance hall of the East Wing, where Nancy Reagan's portrait hangs. The closeup of the bows was rad:

red bows

And you also have to love the giant Bo and Sunny, made of yarn, I think? I'm not good with crafting materials.

yarn sunny and bo

Fun fact: The giant gingerbread White House has to last for three weeks, so although it's made of edible ingredients, it's not edible. Don't eat it.

gingerbread house

I'm a traditionalist, so my favorite room was the Green Room, because it always is. The Green Room is also where the president and first lady hold a lot of receptions before public ceremonies in the East Room.

green room

All Image Credits: Kate Bennett / Independent Journal Review

I did a pretty extensive Snapchat story on all of the rooms and the decorations if you want to see more—it's up until whenever it goes away at @kkggbb11.

Later this afternoon, Michelle Obama welcomes military families to the White House for remarks, a reception, and a special tour.

Harry Reid Came For Dinner:

No word if he got to see the Christmas stuff, but the president and VP Joe Biden had a private dinner with Reid, who is departing the Senate after almost five decades in politics.

TPE Hunter image new

What The Beltway is Talking About:

President-elect Trump's meeting today with Mitt Romney, his second since the election.

Kellyanne Conway said in Sunday show interviews that Trump's supporters would feel betrayed if Romney was named secretary of state. She tweeted at 2:28 a.m. this morning the eyes emoji and a link to a New York Times story she was interviewed for, disputing reports Trump was upset with her for publicly airing her disapproval of Romney.

What America is Talking About:

The attack yesterday at Ohio State. It was not a shooting, as earlier reported, but a student who drove a car into a crowd, got out, and attacked people with a knife. The attacker was shot and killed by OSU police officer Alan Horujko.

Stay Tuned:

Vice President-elect Pence said this morning in the lobby of Trump Tower, “It's going to be a busy day. Stay tuned.”

*stays tuned*

The Latest Politician Trump's Being Compared To:

Throughout the campaign, Trump was compared to a lot of people. At first, it was celebrities-turned-politicians like Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger. There were some outsider-populist Andrew Jackson comparisons made. Then, of course, there were the Adolf Hitler ones. But we've moved on, it seems.

The latest comparison I'm seeing pop up everywhere is former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. According to Google Trends, interest in Berlusconi in the U.S. in the past 90 days peaked the day after the election:

google chart

And this is what shows up when you search Berlusconi on Google:

google search

The interest in the Italian prime minister, who served for nine non-consecutive years over three decades, comes as Americans try to grasp what a Trump administration means, and for the time being, this is who many are turning to for answers.

From Bloomberg Businessweek: “Curious about the future of a country run by a media-savvy billionaire with hair issues? Check out how Silvio Berlusconi destroyed traditional parties with TV slogans, anti-Establishment rhetoric, and garish displays of wealth.”

Italian PM

Image Credit: Roberto Serra / Iguana Press / Getty Images

Honestly, though, just search “silvio berlusconi trump” on Google for further reading. There are a lot of articles.

The Results Are In:

The Michigan Board of Canvassers yesterday finally certified its election results, so I can share the final version of the map I started making on election night of states Hillary Clinton won in blue and states Trump won in Pepe:

Pepe Map

Image Credit: Hunter Schwarz / Independent Journal Review

“The So-Called Alt-Right”:

The AP released guidance yesterday for how the media should refer to the “alt-right.”

TLDR: it's okay to use in quotes, use with modifiers like “so-called,” and don't use without including a definition.

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The 2016 TPE Gift Guide for The Out-Of-Work Campaign Staffer:

It's rough out there for a campaign staffer without a campaign. Here are a few gifts to lift their spirits:


Image credit: Maggie Chambers / Independent Journal Review

1. Friends Sofa tee - $24

Because your real life is about to be coffee shop hanging out and talks about life with your squad.

2. Discussing The Election kitchen towel - $10

Listen, politics is life, but also, can we not right now?

3. Port City Porter - price varies by location

They could use a drink, so why not buy local with the flagship Porter of Alexandria, Virginia's own Port City?

4. Vachetta large leather padfolio - $248

For keeping those resumes on hand, in style.

5. Bliss gift card - how generous are you feeling?

They could use a massage. The Bliss Spa at the W also offers facials and nail care.