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Whatever Happened to the President's Promise About Transparency?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Private Practice

President Obama made a rare Sunday appearance on Capitol Hill to meet with Democrats behind closed doors and talk about health care reform. Arizona Republican Senator John McCain used the private meeting to recall then Senator Obama's public promise during the campaign that C-SPAN cameras would be included in health care negotiations to make the process more transparent. McCain added, "Where's C-SPAN in that meeting now?"

Transparency advocates are also puzzled by Monday's workshop on openness for federal employees, which was closed to the public and media. Rick Blum from Sunshine in Government Initiative says: "We'd like to know — when they're training agencies — are they telling them the same thing they're saying in public."

Officials said the workshop was kept private so employees could speak openly.

Big Foot

Organizers say the climate change summit in Copenhagen will create 41,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, as thousands of delegates, officials and world leaders descend on the city.

The London Daily Telegraph reports the director of one of the city's biggest limousine companies says more than 1,200 vehicles will be used for the conference with some being driven hundreds of miles from neighboring countries.

The director puts the total number of electric cars or hybrids included in that total at just five because of high taxes on those vehicles in Denmark. The airport expects up to 140 private jets during the busiest days with some planes needing to drop off passengers and then park in nearby countries because of a lack of space in Copenhagen.

One green item that won't be welcome: Christmas trees. The Danish foreign ministry says Christmas is a religious holiday and has no place at a United Nations function.

No Room at the Inn?

A Christmas decoration that was almost kept away from its traditional spot in the White House East Room was the Nativity scene. The New York Times reports one participant at a welcoming lunch for social secretary Desiree Rogers said past secretaries were shocked when Rogers told them the Obamas did not intend to put the manger scene on display. The White House says the manger is in its traditional spot.

Meanwhile, some liberals are irked by Rogers' handling of the party-crashers saga. Columnist Maureen Dowd wrote this weekend the "social diva" should have appeared before a House hearing on the incident: "It just made her look weaker that she couldn't simply accept some blame publicly for what happened at a dinner she was in charge of."

Fox News Channel's Lanna Britt contributed to this report.

Bret Baier currently serves as anchor of Fox News Channel's "Special Report with Bret Baier" (weeknights 6-7PM/ET), the top-rated cable news program in its timeslot. Based in Washington, D.C., he joined the network in 1998 as the first reporter in the Atlanta bureau. Click here for more information on Bret Baier