The Washington Times - December 17, 2008, 10:49PM

Surprising no one, Time Magazine chooses Barack Obama as person of the year.



Accompanying the article is a slide show of never-before-seen photos that an old friend of his from college dug up. They show Obama at 20, smoking, no less!


In this one below from the Time slideshow, Obama is wearing a shining ring on his wedding ring finger.



A certain colleague of mine suggests it was just for the then-unmarried Obama to entice the ladies, but when I started asking questions a source pointed me to an old Chicago Tribune article explaning the surprising piece of jewelry:


When a vintage picture of Barack Obama and his then-fiance Michelle Robinson ran on the front page of the Tribune a couple of weeks ago, a reader noticed in the minuscule camera shot that Obama was already wearing a ring, prompting the campaign to look into the matter. As it turned out, Obama used to wear a ring his mother had given him before he got married.


Senate Republicans prep tough questions from presidential past for Eric Holder’s Attorney General confirmation hearings, and Jerry Seper remembers some of his testimony during Congress’ investigation of the Marc Rich pardon in 2001.


And First Read suggests that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s confirmation hearings for Commerce Secretary may not go so smoothly given the grand jury investigation into some of his financial dealings back home.


Pastor Rick Warren will give the invocation at the inauguration, but People for the American Way is “profoundly disappointed” by that news and gay rights groups are protesting.


Blagojevich tells reporters staked out near his home when he goes for a morning run to “hang loose” and that he’s “dying” to tell his constituents his side of the story. (More intriguing to me, he brags that he has a pretty good pace as a runner, an 8-and-a-half minute mile.)


The Washington Times had a sit-down interview with Vice President Dick Cheney today.


A Marist Poll shows voters are still happy with Obama’s moves during the transition, with 63 percent of them saying they approve of his job so far.


I blogged today that Obama has taken 48 questions at 11 news conferences (far surpassing any previous POTUS-elect) and he’ll join President Bush on Jan. 7 for a lunch with all of the former presidents.


I also had a story in today’s paper noting that No Child Left Behind was left behind when Obama held a news conference on education and wrote up the Vilsack/Salazar press conference here.


 Christina Bellantoni, White House correspondent,
The Washington Times


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