Political tidbits: Bibi gives Barack his hechsher, search for missing Minn. ballots stops

  • Bibi Netanyahu tells Reuters that Barack Obama is serious about denying Iran nuclear weapons, even though the president-elect didn’t mention a military option in a weekend interview:

"President-elect Obama spoke to me about his view that Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons is unacceptable," Netanyahu told Reuters in a brief interview. "I say that what counts is the goal and the result that he envisions and the way that he achieves that goal is less important," said Netanyahu, a former prime minister.

  • Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) is out of the race for Democratic House Caucus vice chair, "a stepping stone in Democratic leadership," and will instead settle for a vice chair position with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, reports Politico:

Wasserman Schultz is thought of as one of the up and coming stars of the Democratic caucus, which is why she was pondering a run for the no. 6 slot in the party hierarchy as vice chair of the caucus. The vice chair position is expected to open up if Rep. Xavier Becerra of California is given the position as U.S. Trade Representative in the Obama administration. … "After careful consideration, I believe I can best serve the Speaker and our caucus by helping protect our new and returning members, as well as our expanded majority, as the Vice Chair of Incumbent Retention at the DCCC,” Wasserman Schultz said.

  • The city of Minneapolis has stopped looking for those missing ballots in the Franken-Coleman Senate race, reports the Associated Press:

City officials believed ballots were missing after the number of votes recounted in one precinct ended up 133 less than the number tallied on Election Day. The missing votes favored Franken, who would fall another 46 votes behind Coleman if the precinct’s recount numbers are used instead of the initial tally. City spokesman Matt Laible said workers looked all day Friday at the city’s election warehouse without success, then regrouped over the weekend and decided to turn over two sets of numbers to the Secretary of State’s office: the Election Day tally, and the recounted results. It will be up to the state Canvassing Board to decide which count to use. The board meets Friday and could discuss the issue then.

Both Israeli and American experts would probably pick Ross over Kurtzer. That is, unless they want to signal to the Israeli government that tougher times are coming its way. Differences in seniority and self-image might lead to the more banal possibility: Ross will not accept a role that Kurtzer will happily take.

  • Last week, we noted new "Meet the Press" host David Gregory’s Jewish background. CNN has just announced that John King, who converted to Judaism before marrying CNN’s Dana Bash earlier this year, will take over the Sunday morning "Late Edition" slot from Wolf Blitzer, Here’s what he told the New York Post about his conversion in January:

"Yes, it is true," he told Page Six. "I’m studying to convert and will consider inviting you to my bar mitzvah. Mazel tov. On a more serious note, I took a class and am working with a wonderful rabbi in DC, and it has been a remarkably enriching experience."

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