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**FILE** White House spokesman Jay Carney pauses Nov. 13, 2012, during the daily news briefing at the White House in Washington. (Associated Press)

White House hits Romney over 'gifts' comment

The White House fired back Thursday at Mitt Romney's claim that President Obama won the election by giving policy "gifts" such as free health care and contraception to targeted voting groups, arguing that the GOP nominee's explanation for his loss doesn't reflect reality.

Green rules targeting industry, airline chief says

One day after Europe's climate chief suggested putting on hold a controversial plan to charge international airlines for their carbon emissions, the president of a top Middle East airline on Wednesday said his industry is an "easy target" for environmental regulators.

** FILE ** President Barack Obama makes an opening statement during his first news conference after Election Day, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Obama angrily rebukes GOP senators over Rice

President Obama reacted angrily to threats from GOP senators to block an expected nomination of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of State because of Ms. Rice's statements in the aftermath of the attacks in Benghazi, calling the criticism of her "outrageous" and pledging not to change his decision-making based on them.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (right), Nevada Democrat, talks Nov. 14, 2012, on Capitol Hill in Washington with Independent Sen.-elect Angus King of Maine. (Associated Press)

Reid takes Social Security off the table

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that he will not allow changes in Social Security to be part of the negotiations to avoid a federal budget fiscal cliff, further narrowing the opportunities for savings that could be tapped to close the deficit.

Rep. Allen B. West, Florida Republican, will not concede his re-election bid, even though ballot counts show Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy has a slim lead. A partial recount was not close enough to trigger an automatic recount of all votes. (Associated Press)

Democrats brace for Rep. West court fight

House Democrats are using Republican Rep. Allen West's refusal to concede defeat in his re-election fight to help raise money for Democratic candidate Patrick Murphy in case Mr. Murphy's presumed slim victory in South Florida is challenged in the courts.