U.S. economy adds 155,000 jobs in December, unemployment rate stays at 7.8 percent: “U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in December, a steady gain that shows hiring held up during tense fiscal cliff negotiations in Washington.The solid job growth wasn’t enough to push down the unemployment rate, which stayed 7.8 percent last month, according to the Labor Department’s report Friday. November’s rate was revised higher from an initially reported 7.7 percent.” (Washington Post)

Winning ugly: Obama and the fiscal cliff: “To his credit, Obama never said raising taxes on the “rich” will solve all of our problems. What he did say, however, is that he couldn’t in good conscience ask seniors and college students to take a hit from budget cuts without asking the wealthy to pay their fair share. He wanted “shared sacrifice” and a “balanced approach” because we’re “all in it together,'” writes AEI’s Jonah Goldberg. (National Review)

CAP’s Matt Miller: Making future cliffs count. (Washington Post

With Karzai, taking the good with the bad: “As he prepares to visit Washington in the coming days, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai is completing 10 years in office. His relationship with America began with mutual affection and infatuation, and deteriorated gradually over the years, first under President George W. Bush, then even more so during the early part of the Obama administration. But as in a bad marriage that stays together for the kids, both sides have continued to cooperate for the sake of their common interest in building a stable Afghanistan,” writes Brookings’ Michael O’Hanlon. (Politico)

Room for Debate asks: President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, who has led his resource-rich country with his own brand of socialism, Chavismo, for 14 years, has been indeteriorating health since his cancer surgery last month. It is not clear whether he will be able to be inaugurated for a fourth term on Jan. 10, and his chosen successor waits in the wings. If Chávez steps down or dies, what will become of Venezuela? Will Chavismo survive? What sorts of social, economic and political issues must the next president confront? Would the nation’s contentious relationship with the United States improve? (New York Times)

Iran should be key topic at hearings: “It is to be hoped that the forthcoming Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings regarding the president’s nominations for secretary of state and secretary of defense produce a wide-ranging debate regarding this country’s role in today’s very unsettled world. The hearings almost certainly will provoke searching questions regarding the strategic wisdom of potential U.S. military action against Iran. Recent Israeli media reports have cited a former member of President Obama’s National Security Council staff predicting a U.S. attack by about midyear,” writes Zbigniew Brzezinski. (Washington Post)