Still Hospitalized:

George H.W. Bush was moved to intensive care after experiencing a series of medical setbacks but his spokesman, Jim McGrath, says doctors are “cautiously optimistic” about the treatment the 88-year-old former president is receiving. McGrath also says Bush is alert and talking to doctors. Bush, the oldest living U.S. president, has been at Methodist Hospital in Houston since Nov. 23, when he checked in for bronchitis symptoms. (Read more)

Island Hopping: The Senate has a new member–Hawaii’s Brian Schatz. On Wednesday, Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed the Democrat to fill the seat vacated by the death of Daniel Inouye. On Thursday, Schatz was sworn in. The ex-lieutenant governor hitched a ride to Washington on Air Force One with President Obama. (Read more)

Markey Your Vote: Democrats finally have a formidable candidate to seek John Kerry’s seat if the Massachusetts senator is confirmed as secretary of state. Rep. Ed Markey says he would run in the special election to replace Kerry. The longtime Democratic congressman—he was first elected in 1976 at the age of 30—is currently the third-ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Markey’s announcement comes after Ted Kennedy Jr. and Ben Affleck both said they were not interested in the post. (Read more)

Stepping Down: EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced Thursday that she would leave her job after President Obama’s State of the Union speech next month. Jackson’s efforts at the EPA include enacting new fuel economy standards, restrictions on certain types of toxic emissions and the agency’s report about the seriousness of climate change. “I will leave the EPA confident the ship is sailing in the right direction, and ready in my own life for new challenges, time with my family and new opportunities to make a difference,” she said in a statement. (Read more)

Common Grounds: Starbucks is getting involved in the fiscal cliff showdown between Democrats and Republicans—sort of. CEO Howard Schultz announced Wednesday that baristas in the megachain’s Washington, D.C., locations would be writing the phrase “Come Together” on customers’ coffee cups the rest of this week. “My hope is that this simple message will serve as a holiday reminder from Starbucks of the spirit that has always bridged differences and that we all have the power to come together and make a difference during every season of the year,” he wrote in a letter posted online. (Read more)

Booze Cruise: Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo doesn’t always drink–in fact, the Republican previously said he abstained from alcohol entirely–but when he does, he chooses vodka. Shots of vodka. At least, that’s what Crapo was reportedly drinking before he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence last weekend. (Read more)

Video of the Day: Barbara Walters sure is good at asking the tough questions of our nation’s political figures. Like in this interview with Barack and Michelle Obama in which she gets to the bottom of how they “keep the fire going in their marriage.”

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