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Special Report

New White House Press Secretary Cashes In

Some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Let's Make a Deal

Incoming White House press secretary Jay Carney made big bucks from Time magazine even after he left to work in the Obama administration. Carney left his position as Washington bureau chief in December of 2008 to work on Vice President Biden's media team.

Politico reports a newly-released disclosure form shows that Carney was paid a $58,000 bonus in 2009 after he left Time, as well as a $212,000 severance payment. The White House says it was a buy-out, not for any work done in 2009.

A Republican operative sees a double standard, telling Fox -- quote -- "If anyone in the GOP did this -- got $200,000 from an employer who knew we were going to work for the president -- they would crucify us."

Feeling Left Out

Another moderate Democrat is complaining about being ignored by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. California's Dennis Cardoza tells Roll Call -- quote -- "There's a lot of us who are feeling very alienated. The Blue Dogs and the moderates don't feel like they're being reached out to at all."

Cardoza's comments echo those of North Carolina's Heath Shuler last week. At the time, a Pelosi spokesman told Fox she is working with all members of the caucus.

Check the Label

It appears even North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is cutting back these days.

Kim traditionally celebrates his birthday by handing out luxury goods, like cars and Rolex watches in an attempt to buy loyalty. But the bad economy and increased sanctions have forced Kim to buy knock-offs in bulk from China, including fake Gucci and Armani suits.

Kim celebrates his 69th birthday Wednesday.

Stripped

And finally, Colorado lawmakers have given initial approval to a bill banning the use of public assistance cards at strip club ATMs.

The law already prohibits welfare cards from being used at casinos, racetracks and liquor stores.