WEDNESDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* al-Sadr returns to Iraq: “The anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr made a surprise return to Iraq on Wednesday, ending four years of self-imposed exile in Iran and signaling the full rehabilitation of his Sadrist faction within Iraq’s political process.”
* Bill Daley visited the White House today, presumably as part of discussions on whether he’ll become the president’s new chief of staff.
* Oddly enough, though many on the left have raised concerns about Daley, Howard Dean endorsed him for the job earlier today.
* President Obama signed the most sweeping food-safety overhaul in 70 years into law yesterday. Whether it will be gutted by House Republicans remains to be seen.
* Into the lions’ den: “President Obama will address the U.S. Chamber of Commerce next month in a high-profile bid to develop a better relationship after their corrosive sparring last fall over the business group’s big spending to elect Republicans. He will speak on Feb. 7 to members of the nation’s largest association of business and industry, said Jen Psaki, Mr. Obama’s deputy communications director.”
* As far as Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is concerned, the Obama administration is “corrupt,” but it hasn’t committed “wrongdoing … at a criminal level.” (Raise your hand if you think Issa knows what “corrupt” means.)
* Sen. Lamar Alexander’s (R-Tenn.) speech on filibuster reform was a dishonest mess.
* I’m not sure what to make of this: “Apparently the idea of letting applicants submit videos of themselves as part of their admissions packages is becoming more popular.” I’m glad this wasn’t an option when I was applying — my ridiculous 1991 hair probably would have ended my chances at admission anywhere.
* The Washington Post ran an online survey for readers today, asking to rank the top eight policy issues for the new Congress. The list, at least at first, neglected to mention job creation or the economy. Oops.
* When even Bill Kristol thinks right-wing talk on the federal debt limit is “irresponsible,” the House GOP is clearly pushing its luck.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.