TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: Obama held his end-year press conference, beginning with a statement ticking off progress seen in 2013 and his early priorities in 2014 before beating back an unusually aggressive White House press corps. Harry Reid was hospitalized this morning, but spox say "everything is normal" and that the majority leader is already "feeling better." Rumors surfaced that Ezra Klein might be leaving the Post, and NASA's asteroid hunter is back. We couldn't be more excited for what its future holds.
OBAMA HOLDS FINAL NEWS CONFERENCE OF 2013: An at-times feisty press corps pushed Obama on questions ranging from the status of the Obamacare site to Iran sanctions and whether this year was the worst of his presidency. Obama had been expected to address recent calls from a federal judge and a presidential advisory panel questioning the NSA's data-collection programs, but the topic was noticeably absent from his opening remarks. During the Q&A, he largely defended the agency's approach to surveillance, but promised "a pretty definitive statement about all of this in January." His New Year's resolution? "To be nicer to the White House press corps." (NJ)
A LIST OF THE NSA'S VARIED TARGETS AROUND THE GLOBE: Revelations out today in several major publications explore a new basket of classified documents that reveals a long list of the agency's surveillance targets, from high-ranking Israeli officials to foreign energy companies and international aid groups. A handy list breaks down a who's who of the governments, groups, and individuals being spied on. (Christopher Mims, Quartz)
ADMIN DELAYING OBAMACARE MANDATE FOR THOSE WITH CANCELED POLICIES: Those who have received health insurance cancellation notices qualify for a "hardship exemption" and will not be subject to the individual mandate penalty. In addition, these consumers will have the opportunity to purchase less expensive, bare-bones plans called "catastrophic" coverage. (Clara Ritger, NJ)
HOW THE ADMINISTRATION IS MAKING THE EXEMPTION HAPPEN: And what it means for the law going forward. Provided in a digestible, numbered list, which bills the move as "the first crack in the individual mandate. The question is whether it's the last." (Ezra Klein, WaPo)
THE REST OF THE YEAR IN ONE SENTENCE: After a sprint to the finish, overworked government employees are expected to go home to enjoy the holidays.
HARRY READ HOSPITALIZED: The majority leader was taken to the hospital this morning as a precaution, but is believed to be doing just fine. (Michael Catalini, NJ)
CAPITOL FACELIFT: The U.S. Capitol is set to begin a renovation that will cover the iconic dome in scaffolding for at least two years. (Steve Hendrix, WaPo)
THE TRUTH ABOUT SANTA CLAUS: Finding out the truth about Santa Claus is more distressing for parents than kids. (Alice Robb, TNR)
EZRA KLEIN: Is the Wonkblog wunderkind about to leave The Washington Post? (Michael Calderone, HuffPo)
ASTEROID HUNTER: NASA's coolest invention is looking for a rock where we can land humans in the next decade. (Alex Brown, NJ)
THE WELFARE QUEEN'S WORST CRIMES: Reagan's "Welfare Queen" committed crimes far worse than exploiting the welfare system, including possible murders and kidnappings. (Josh Levin, Slate)
LAST NIGHT'S LATE-NIGHT FUNNIES IN UNDER 3 MINUTES: Stephen Colbert and Fox News rally to the support of Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty cast, after he is suspended from A&E. The tea party and Republicans are going through a political divorce, and the war on Christmas discriminates against Christians. (Reena Flores, NJ)
DAILY SHOW BIDS ADIEU TO JOHN OLIVER: Relive the glory of John Oliver's time on The Daily Show with his bittersweet farewell appearance show last night. Spoiler alert: both Johns cry. (Slate)
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Edge is taking a break for the holidays. It will return Jan. 6. Happy holidays, everyone!