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Michele’s White House is no ‘Camelot’

She has glamorized kitchen gardening, spotlighted childhood obesity and invited thousands of students, many of them minorities, to official White House events. Expectations were high for a different kind of first lady, and in many ways Michelle Obama has lived up to them, maintaining the kind of high public profile that was widely anticipated when she and her husband came to Washington. At the same time, she has been a victim of those expectations, disappointing some in Washington who hoped she would be a more expansive social presence, and eliciting the familiar criticism of recent first ladies that she keeps
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Palin: Political contender or pretender?

Sarah Palin, the telegenic Republican who exasperates and delights voters about equally, is dropping ever more hints of a presidential bid, including a visit Saturday to the key state of Iowa. The official purpose of her trip to suburban Des Moines is to promote her new book, “America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag.” But Democratic and Republican insiders will search for every possible hint of whether she will seek the nomination to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012. Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee, has fed such speculation in recent days. She told
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Airport lines move smoothly as protest fizzles

The lines moved smoothly at airports around the country Wednesday afternoon despite an Internet campaign to get Thanksgiving travelers to gum up the works on one of the busiest days of the year by refusing full-body scans. The Transportation Security Administration said very few passengers opted out. And there were only scattered protesters — including, presumably, a man seen walking around the Salt Lake City airport in a skimpy, Speedo-style bathing suit, and a woman wearing a bikini in Los Angeles. After days of tough talk on the Internet and warnings of possible delays, some passengers decided to go to
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End coming for color-coded terror alert system

The Homeland Security Department is proposing to discontinue the color-coded terror alert system that became a symbol of the country’s post-9/11 jitters and the butt of late-night talk show jokes. The 8-year-old system, with its rainbow of five colors — from green, signifying a low threat, to red, meaning severe — became a fixture in airports, in government buildings and on newscasts. Over the past four years, millions of travelers have begun and ended their trips to the sound of airport recordings warning that the threat level is orange. The system’s demise would not be the end of terror alerts;
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Delay trial jurors close in on a verdict

The jury in the money laundering trial of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay could be getting close to reaching a verdict. Jurors were to resume deliberating Wednesday, a day after asking various legal questions that prompted the judge to say they weren’t on the right track. But at the end of the day, jurors indicated they were making progress. Deliberations began Monday. Prosecutors allege DeLay helped illegally funnel $190,000 in corporate campaign donations to Texas legislative races in 2002 in a move that ultimately helped send more Republicans to Congress. DeLay has denied any wrongdoing, saying no corporate
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