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Making His List, Checking It Twice

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Just when Barack Obama thought his toughest decisions were behind him--his Afghanistan strategy, tackling unemployment, what to say to Tiger Woods if he calls--now he has to draw up a Christmas gift list. What will the current "decider" decide to give this holiday season...to both the naughty and the nice?

Health insurance industry: The new healthcare bill (the gift that keeps on giving).

Big Pharma: Same as above, with unlimited refills.

Senate Republicans: Membership in Whine-of-the-Month Club.

Joe Lieberman: Hanukkah guilt.

Ben Nelson: Anything he wants.

Michelle: Some manure for her garden (how about the healthcare bill?).

Malia and Sasha: New Secret Service escort: Justin Bieber!

Bo: Meat-flavored cardboard cutout of Sean Hannity.

TARP bailout recipients: What, $700 billion wasn't enough?

The Salahis: Invitation to a state dinner...at Guantanamo Bay.

Troops in Afghanistan: A McChrystal ball.

Troops in Iraq: All-expenses-paid trip from frying pan into fire.

Fox News: An exclusive interview...in 2013.

Kim Jong Il: Fruitcake, extra nutty.

China: As down payment on our debt, they get...Ohio (non-refundable).

Hillary Clinton: Teflon pantsuit.

Bill Clinton: Mistletoe pants.

Sarah Palin: Eleven Pipers piping, 10 Bristols birthing, 9 Levis posing, 8 Todds a-mushing, 7 books a-signing, 6 moose a-dressing...5 golden winks!...

John McCain: A 4-pound gift basket of sour grapes.

George W. Bush: Christmas leftovers. Why not? He gave his to America.

The piece appeared in The Los Angeles Times on December 23, 2009.