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LITERARY MOMENT

“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has opted to stay well clear of the midterms, sitting them out in a two-week tour of Asia and Australia. In fact shes been as elusive as the Scarlet Pimpernel.”

(Nile Gardner, foreign affairs analyst for the Daily Telegraph.

SIGN OF THE TIMES

Mindful of a sagging economy, Santa Claus will arrive in many major shopping malls on Saturday, just to get a head start on things. This year, he’ll be toting dream gifts for hypochondriacs, at least according to the gadget geniuses of Brookstone.

“People are showing keen interest in living this cold-and-flu season as germ-free as possible. We’re seeing a lot of activity for Violight UV Cell Phone Sanitizers, the cordless UV-C Sanitizing Wand and our Candyman Motion-Activated Candy Dispenser, which helps people avoid sharing germs in office candy bowls,” explains Ron Boire, CEO of the specialty store chain.

POLL DU JOUR

- 57 percent of likely voters say the midterm election was an “Obama referendum.”

- 30 percent of Democrats and 28 percent of liberals agree.

- 51 percent of voters overall say their opinion of President Obama was a factor in their voting decisions.

- 72 percent of conservatives, 66 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of independent voters agree.

- 50 percent of voters overall do not plan to vote for Mr. Obama in 2012.

- 45 percent of those who voted for Mr. Obama have a more positive opinion of him, 40 percent a more negative.

Source: A Zogby Interactive poll of 2,056 likely voters conducted Oct. 29 to. Nov. 1

Victory cries, gnashing of teeth, recounts to jharper@washingtontimes.com.