Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) - President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Friday, personally delivering holiday greetings to U.S. troops stationed there and promising continued full support in the war against Taliban and other extremists.
The president, who is expected to remain on the ground for roughly three hours, addressed troops at Bagram Air Base. Most of the troops were with the Army's 101st Airborne Division, though components of all the service branches were represented.
Washington (CNN) - The headline is obvious and may be omnipresent today: unemployment jumped up from 9.6 percent to 9.8 percent in November and job creation took a nose dive.
But this month's report is full of other key findings the pack might miss. Here are three:
(CNN) - Hillary Clinton is adamant that she's not running for president in 2012, but she's now saying that being secretary of state will be her last job in government.
"I think I'll serve as secretary of state as my last public position," Clinton said Friday at an event in Bahrain. "Then (I'll) probably go back to advocacy work, particularly on behalf of women and children, and particularly around the world."
Washington (CNN) - For anyone hoping that outgoing Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin will mount a Democratic primary challenge to President Barack Obama in 2012, it appears Feingold's not interested.
"Senator Feingold is not running for President in 2012. Any suggestion he is thinking of running, planning to run, or interested in running is untrue. Senator Feingold is a strong supporter of President Barack Obama and wants to see him reelected in 2012," says Feingold Chief of Staff Mary Irvine.
(CNN) - Minnesota’s gubernatorial recount is nearly complete and although the vote totals won’t be certified for at least another week, Democrat Mark Dayton is emerging as the near-certain victor.
With over 93 percent of the ballots re-counted, Dayton has lost 17 votes from his November 2 total, while Republican Tom Emmer has gained 53. Dayton led Emmer by nearly 9,000 votes after Election Day.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Defying expectations, more than 60% of President Obama's debt commission voted Friday in favor of the group's final recommendations for reducing the country's long-term debt.
In a strong bipartisan showing, 11 of 18 members voted yes. Five Democrats, five Republicans and one independent voted in favor of the panel's debt-reduction plan. Those who voted against it included four Democrats and three Republicans.
(Updated at 10:46 a.m. with comment from the White House)
Washington (CNN) - Republicans were out of the gate immediately following the release of the November unemployment figures Friday as the two top Republican leaders in the House jabbed Democrats and called for tax cut extensions.
Current House minority leader Rep. John Boehner, who will likely serve as House Speaker in the next Congress, said Democratic leaders are "wasting time with meaningless votes," and said not extending the Bush-era tax cuts will result in more jobs lost.
(CNN) - Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos told the Senate Armed Services Committee Friday that he does not support a repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
There is "strong potential for disruption at the small unit level" of combat units if the "don't ask, don't tell" policy is repealed, Gen. Amos told the committee Friday. Allowing openly gay and lesbian Marines to serve would "no doubt divert leadership attention away from an almost singular focus of preparing units for combat."
Washington (CNN) - As top Democrats and Republicans continue negotiations over extending the Bush-era tax cuts, a new national poll indicates that a slight majority of Americans are opposed to the wealthiest Americans receiving those cuts.
According to a CBS News survey released Thursday evening, 53 percent of the public says that the cuts should be extended only for families making a combined income of less that $250,000 a year, with 26 percent saying the lower tax rates should be continued for all Americans, and 14 percent saying they should be allowed to expire at the end of the year.
(CNN) - In a battle between former President George W. Bush and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Bush comes out on top.
His memoir "Decision Points" has maintained its number one spot on the New York Times hardcover nonfiction bestseller list for the third week in a row, leaving Palin's new book, "America by Heart" second on the list released this weekend.