Rachel Martin

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Larry Jefferson has been putting on a big red suit and perfecting his best ho, ho, ho for nearly 20 years.

The retired Army captain plays Santa at shopping malls, holiday parties and charity benefits. He hit the big time this year when he was handpicked at a Santa convention to appear at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.

And by all accounts, kids and parents at the mall loved him. But when the story spread online, the negative attacks starting pouring in — because Jefferson is black.

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The next secretary of Homeland Security will face a tough job. He'll oversee a vast agency, keep track of security threats and also oversee the execution of some high-profile campaign promises by President-elect Trump.

A dad in Mexico who planned an epic party for his daughter Rubi's 15th birthday.

He made a video talking about the festivities - three bands, a horse race and at the end, he said, "everyone is cordially invited!"

The video went viral and more than a million people said they would come to Rubi's party. It spawned all kinds of internet memes.

Rubi's favorite? The one about Donald Trump allowing undocumented Mexican migrants in the U.S. to return to Mexico so they can go to her party.

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Chances are you've come across the words of Brad Parscale this year and you just never knew it. Behind the scenes and under the radar, this digital director of the Trump campaign often tweeted as Trump.

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OK, for more on the politics of the pipeline, we're going to talk now with NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley. He's on the line. Hi, Scott.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Rachel.

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The 2016 presidential campaign has in many ways become a question of character. Even though Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both have incredibly loyal supporters, the two candidates also inspire some intensely negative feelings among voters. Clinton and Trump are the two most unpopular candidates since modern polling began.

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We're going to turn now to NPR's John Burnett because he is out on the streets of Dallas getting the mood this morning on a grim Friday morning. John, what are you seeing? Where are you?

JOHN BURNETT, BYLINE: Hey, Rachel. I'm actually sitting outside of a steakhouse on the edge of the police cordon area - a 20, 25 block area. South downtown Dallas, which has just turned into this giant crime scene - it's cop land. There's state troopers. There's Dallas police. There's fire and rescue. There's ATF agents.

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