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Sources: Fighter pilot is Obama's choice to run NASA

A highly decorated fighter pilot, close to President-elect Barack Obama but almost completely unknown to the space community, has emerged as the top candidate to run NASA, three sources close to the Obama transition team said yesterday. Retired Maj. Gen. Jonathan Scott Gration traveled in Africa with Obama in 2006 and served as a military adviser to him during the campaign. Sources told The Washington Post that selection is not a done deal, but a formal announcement could precede Obama's inauguration.

Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden paid a relaxed, pre-inaugural visit to the Supreme Court yesterday at the invitation of the man whose confirmation Obama opposed. Obama and Biden sat in front of a fire in a court conference room with Chief Justice John Roberts and seven other justices, chatting for about 45 minutes, then toured the courtroom and justices' private conference room. Justice Samuel Alito was the only justice absent, although Alito was on the bench for two hours of argument yesterday morning. Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said she did not know why Alito wasn't there.

A luxury Chrysler sedan Barack Obama drove before winning the White House is being auctioned off on eBay. Starting bid: $100,000. Tim O'Boyle, general manager of a restaurant in Hillside, Ill., west of Chicago, is selling Obama's steel blue 2005 Chrysler 300C Hemi on the Internet auction site, hoping to cash in on history. The price is $1 million under eBay's "Buy It Now" option.

Obama broke bread with some of his media critics, dining Tuesday evening at the home of conservative columnist George Will in Chevy Chase, Md. Also in attendance were prominent conservative and editor at the Weekly Standard William Kristol, David Brooks of The New York Times and Charles Krauthammer of The Washington Post.

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