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TheDC Morning: It was a spook-y ghost!

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1.) It was a spook-y ghost! — Another day, another “revelation” in the administration’s shuffle to explain who is to blame for the narrative that an organized, prolonged and heavily armed assault on an American Consulate that killed the U.S. ambassador on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks was not the work of international terrorists. TheDC’s Neil Munro reports:

CBS News reported Nov. 20 that the office of James Clapper, the politically appointed Director of National Intelligence, edited the talking points before they were passed to political appointees. … The report from CBS contradicts evidence from hearings last week, in which several senior intelligence officials — including Clapper — declared they did not know who made the edits. “I participated in hours of hearings in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last week regarding the events in Benghazi, where senior intelligence officials were asked this very question, and all of them — including the Director of National Intelligence himself — told us that they did not know who made the changes,” said an afternoon statement from Sen. John McCain.

Ancient kings ordered their soldiers to fall on swords to prove their power. But the administration is running out of soldiers, and in the age of congressional committees. that might mean trouble.

2.) To boldly go where more of the country is than ever before — In a Tuesday challenge to the Twitterverse, Newark Mayor Cory Booker said he would be willing to eat using only $35 a week, for a week. It isn’t exactly 30 days in the desert, but the rising Democratic star is braving a wilderness thus far only explored by tens of thousands of families, college students, recent grads, reporters and self-righteous activists nationwide. All to prove how the U.S. isn’t spending enough on entitlements. All amid the highest rate of government-dependent Americans in history. TheDC’s Caroline May reports:

The mayor — who interacts frequently with his Twitter followers — challenged one of his followers, @MWadeNC, to join him in the challenge of living on food stamps … “We pay 4 HUGE back end govt programs: prisons, police, etc. If we invested in Schools, nutrition, etc we’d save $ & create wealth,” Booker tweeted to another follower another who charged that Booker wanted to “redistribute wealth,” to which @MWadeNC responded, “nutrition is not a responsibility of the government.”… The back and forth culminated with Booker offering @MWadeNC a challenge: “Lets you and I try to live on food stamps in New Jersey (high cost of living) and feed a family for a week or month. U game?”

The pioneering executive plans to begin his fast after Thanksgiving.

3.) Change we can believe in — Politicians may be more divided than they ever were in the history of America since last year, but one thing they can usually be counted on is a fear of change, a refusal to surrender power, a strange defense of broken things, and a not-so-strange love of fundraisers. Which is why it was so surprising to hear one powerful Republican buck the trend. TheDC’s Alexis Levinson reports:

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad thinks it is time to bid the Ames Straw Poll goodbye. … “It has been a great fundraiser for the party, but I think its days are over,” he said. The Ames Straw Poll has been around for 33 years, and is touted as the first big test for the prospective Republican presidential nominees. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty put so much emphasis on the poll that he dropped out of the presidential race after a disappointing third place performance.

When Ms. Bachmann pledged to tear down the Republican establishment, we doubt this was what she had in mind, but we’ll take it.

4.) The best and the brightest — Just in case anyone was worried about losing their classified defense status on account of signing an itty bitty little petition of secession from the United States, they can (probably) relax. TheDC’s David Martosko reports:

A Department of Defense agency tasked with investigating personnel for security clearances said Friday that government contractors who work on top secret projects won’t find their clearances in jeopardy if they petition the White House to allow their states to secede from the U.S. The Defense Security Service wrote in a Nov. 16 bulletin to government contractors that “erroneous statements have been made to the effect that DSS is directing contractors to treat the signing of such petitions as reportable adverse information.”

Now that’s thinking ahead: If only the DOD hadn’t threatened to fire all those contractors joining the Confederacy back in the day, the could have saved themselves a lot of grief.

5.) If there’s a God in heaven, he’s got a silver Thunderbird — Finally some news that encapsulates all that is America: Taking your shirt off, washing you sports car, and a display of public activism that will accomplish nothing at all. TheDC’s Taylor Bigler reports:

The [White House] petition demands (sic throughout) that “[f]unds shall be set aside for the purchase and restoration of a fleet of Pontiac Firebird Trans-Ams, a car synonymous with the American spirit and emblematic of a lost era of American automotive manufacturing.” The goal of the petition is to assign each vice president a Trans-Am, “which will be customized and detailed to the vice-president’s specifications in the period between his election and taking office.” Another stipulation of the petition is that “annually on June 21st, the vice-president will take part in the Washing of the Trans-Am, marking the start of summer, a public celebration of our national pride, joined by one third-grade class selected by national competition.”

While this Onion sketch may be unlikely to play out, the voters have opted for four more years of Joe Biden, so hilarity will not be in short supply.

6.) Tweet of Yesterday:Josh Greenman: If Mitt Romney were president, would he pardon the turkey? #noapology

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