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Special Report

President-Elect Obama Is Not Spending His Sundays Where Many of His Predecessors Have

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Fit or Faithful

Since Election Day, President-elect Barack Obama has been seen dropping off his daughters at school, taking his wife out to dinner and frequenting a gym in Chicago. But one location Mr. Obama has not been photographed at is church. In the three Sundays since winning the White House, the President-elect has used his free time for workouts instead.

That's a shift from his two immediate predecessors. Both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton attended services in the weeks after they were elected, and most presidents have made a practice of going to church and being seen doing so.

The Politico newspaper reports a transition aide noted the Obamas valued their faith experience in Chicago but were concerned about the impact their large entourage could have on others in the congregation.

The Obamas are currently without a church home. In June they resigned their membership at Trinity United Church of Christ in the wake of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright controversy. An Obama aide told Politico the family looks forward to finding a "church community" in Washington.

Finding the Time

There are questions about how Michelle Obama will balance family and career with her first lady duties. Salon magazine writer Rebecca Traister worries over what she calls "the smooth and unquestioning assumptions by the media that the fallback position is to assign all [domestic] duties to Michelle."

Traister scolds her colleagues saying, "It is possible, I suppose that some have forgotten that Michelle Obama is more than a pair of ovaries with a commitment to organic food and the sales at J. Crew. But there is also the distinct whiff of relief in the momification of Michelle, and in the regress to Camelot. It's as though the American media — exhausted after the progressive exertions of having to be respectful and not misogynist about two women running for political office — has loosened its belt and is relaxing back into a world in which all you have to do is write about what they wear and how they mother."

Taxing Situation

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel may have violated tax laws in New York and Washington concerning primary residence rules. The New York Post reports the New York Democrat has received a homestead exemption for his property in Washington which legally must apply only to his primary residence.

The Post says Rangel also occupies multiple rent-controlled apartments in New York City. The law there says a tenant can receive such a rent discount only for a primary residence. A spokesman for the Congressman said Rangel's accountant has been asked to look into the situation.

Rangel is already being investigated by the ethics committee for various issues, including his use of those Harlem apartments and his failure to report rental income from a villa in the Dominican Republic.

Storm Clouds

NBC Universal made some staffing cuts last week to the company's newly acquired network The Weather Channel. The Washington Post reports the entire staff of the "Forecast Earth" environmental program was given the boot. That show was the only program on The Weather Channel that focused on global climate change.

The irony is that the firings came during NBC's Green Week, during which the network highlighted its environmental coverage across all of its platforms.

FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.