Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Life of the Party
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says health insurance for party employees will no longer include coverage for elective abortion.
POLITICO reported the existence of the provision this week sending party officials scrambling. The Republican platform calls abortion "a fundamental assault on the sanctity of innocent human life."
Steele instructed his staff Thursday to inform insurance provider Cigna that the RNC wanted to opt-out of the coverage, which has been in the policy since 1991: "Money from our loyal donors should not be used for this purpose. I don't know why this policy existed in the past, but it will not exist under my administration. Consider this issue settled."
'Tis the season for the war on Christmas. The mayor of Amelia, Ohio has canceled the village's traditional Christmas parade because of fears over possible lawsuits.
A private group had funded the parade for the last 28 years. It pulled out so the village took over and the mayor's legal counsel advised him to change it to a "holiday parade" to avoid any potential legal problems. That prompted a backlash from church groups who threatened to boycott if Christmas was taken out of the name.
Mayor Leroy Ellington says he had no choice but to call the whole thing off: "As a citizen I wanted a Christmas parade, as a mayor I've an obligation to prevent the village from spending unnecessary tax dollars."
Mao Money, Mao Problems
Shopkeepers in what used to be called red China are seeing green ahead of President Obama's visit to the communist nation Sunday.
Vendors are fully embracing the free market mindset, stocking all sorts of items inspired by the American leader. Apparently some of the hottest tchotchkes included "Oba-Mao" T-shirts and trinkets that have President Obama wearing the uniform of the Red Guard.
One vendor says he has already sold hundreds of "Oba-Mao" shirts, but not anymore says one government employee: "They're not allowed to sell these things because there are images of Obama wearing the uniform of the Red Army."
— Fox News Channel's Lanna Britt contributed to this report.
Bret Baier is the Chief Political Anchor of Fox News Channel, and the Anchor & Executive Editor of "Special Report with Bret Baier.” His book, "Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission," (William Morrow) is on sale now.