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A Lovely Consolation Prize for Ms. Kennedy?

To heed the call to public service, Caroline Kennedy need look no farther than the city she calls home -- East 44th Street, to be specific.
To heed the call to public service, Caroline Kennedy need look no farther than the city she calls home -- East 44th Street, to be specific. (By Stephen Chernin -- Associated Press)

McHale has been close to Clinton for decades and was an early and prolific fundraiser for the former first lady's presidential bid. During the 2008 campaign cycle, McHale donated $109,600 to Democratic politicians and campaign committees, campaign finance records show.

Wow! Not that good a job.

Stay! Go!

On Jan. 9, Mark R. Dybul, Bush's global AIDS coordinator, informed his staff via e-mail that he had been asked to stay on for an indeterminate length of time. "I wanted to let you know that I have been asked to rescind my resignation so I will be continuing in the coordinator position beyond the inauguration. Look forward to our continuing work together," he wrote.

But "indeterminate" doesn't mean forever. Doesn't even mean two weeks, in this case. Dybul has been asked to submit his resignation, and he did so effective close of business Wednesday. Our colleague Ceci Connolly notes that he was spotted in jeans telling staffers, "I'm no longer your coordinator."

Latest name to surface as a possible successor: Eric Goosby, an African American Clintonite who headed the Office of HIV/AIDS Policy in the Department of Health and Human Services and is now chief medical officer and CEO of a major AIDS foundation on the Left Coast.

Cheney vs. Bush on Libby

Just one day after leaving the White House, former vice president Dick Cheney publicly broke with his boss of eight years, saying he disagreed with Bush's decision not to pardon convicted felon I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff.

After Libby was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice for his role in the outing of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson to the news media, Bush commuted his prison term, a move he later described as "fair and balanced." But he refused to pardon Libby, a decision that angered many of Bush's supporters -- including, we now know, Cheney.

In an interview Wednesday with Stephen F. Hayes, a writer for the conservative Weekly Standard and author of a Cheney biography, the former vice president said: "Obviously, I disagree with President Bush's decision."

Cheney added, "Scooter Libby is one of the most capable and honorable men I've ever known. He's been an outstanding public servant throughout his career. He was the victim of a serious miscarriage of justice, and I strongly believe that he deserved a presidential pardon."

Pentagon Watch

On injured reserve: Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. Seems Gates tore a ligament in his left arm trying to attach a snowplow blade to a tractor in Washington state over the holiday and will have surgery today. He will have to wear a sling for a while, our colleague Ann Scott Tyson reports.

At a news conference yesterday, Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen said that if the law on the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military changes, they will comply with the law.

Gates also responded to questions raised by the Senate Armed Services Committee about lobbying work for Raytheon by Obama's nominee for deputy defense secretary, William Lynn.

"People in the transition certainly recognized that it was an issue," Gates said. "And I interviewed Bill Lynn; I was very impressed with his credentials; he came with the highest recommendations of a number of people that I respect a lot. And I asked that an exception be made, because I felt that he could play the role of the deputy in a better manner than anybody else that I saw.

"The White House counsel's office, presidential personnel and our own general counsel's office are in the process," he said, of getting the committee whatever information it needs.

And Now for Something Completely Different

The crowd at Foggy Bottom waited for about 50 minutes in the ornate Benjamin Franklin State Dining Room before Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton came in to unveil special envoys George J. Mitchell and Richard C. Holbrooke. While the guests waited, they listened to musical renditions of "America, the Beautiful" and the Monty Python theme song, also known as "The Liberty Bell March," among other numbers.

Green Light

Enviros, in "trust-but-verify" mode on new Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, have been much more trusting of late when they're told David J. Hayes, deputy secretary for Bruce Babbitt in the Clinton administration, is to be reprising that role shortly.

With Philip Rucker

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