- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WHITE HOUSE

‘Simple Gifts’ is Christmas theme

Bo’s paw prints are all over Christmas at the White House this year.

A larger-than-life version of President Obama’s 2-year-old Portuguese water dog made of 40,000 twisted pipe cleaners is one of the first things tourists and other holiday guests will see when they visit the White House this month.

Bo also features prominently in the 400-pound, white chocolate-covered gingerbread White House. A version of the pooch, made from almond paste, sits on the grounds near a replica of Michelle Obama’s fruit and vegetable garden.

The real-life Bo even joined Mr. Obama, Mrs. Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha Obama in signing the family’s official Christmas card - with his paw print.

Mrs. Obama settled on a theme of “Simple Gifts” for the holiday season, emphasizing the simple things that bring joy at Christmas. Many White House decorations also are made from basic - and, in some cases, reusable - materials such as wood, newspaper and magazine pages.

NEVADA

Senator says probe of affair is over

Sen. John Ensign, Nevada Republican, said Wednesday he’s no longer the target of a Justice Department investigation into whether he violated the law in an attempt to cover up an affair with a former campaign aide.

The senator admitted in June 2009 that he had the extramarital affair. He had later helped the woman’s husband obtain lobbying work with a Nevada company. He said he had undertaken similar efforts for other members of his staff moving back into the private sector and that he had violated no law.

There was no immediate confirmation from the Justice Department about whether it had ended its investigation, but at least one ethics watchdog group criticized the move.

NUTRITION

School lunch bill stalls in House

House Republicans on Wednesday succeeded in temporarily blocking legislation to offer subsidized school meals to thousands more children.

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