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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

The latest news on the crisis in Ukraine, plus a look at the technology aiding in search for Flight 370.

The latest news on the crisis in Ukraine, plus a look at the technology aiding in search for Flight 370.

Why new Christmas songs fail to break through

pop lead

December 10th, 2013
06:24 PM ET

Why new Christmas songs fail to break through

(CNN) - As you're zipping around holiday shopping, attending religious services, and generally spreading Yuletide cheer, you're likely to notice something – you're humming the same tune as last year. And the year before that, too.

"White Christmas" by Bing Crosby?

How about the classic duet "Baby It's Cold Outside"? It premiered in the 1949 film "Neptune's Daughter" from MGM. This year, you can hear it sung by the gang from reality television show "Duck Dynasty."

Every year, holiday stations churn out the same musty standards – the only twist, it seems, is who is belting them out. But no new songs seem to break the candy cane ceiling.

"It's hard to figure out why it is that even though we have the top stars of today writing original Christmas songs, none of them have really broken through," said Slate writer Chris Klimek, who pinned down the Christmas song trend in an article Monday.
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politics lead

December 10th, 2013
06:01 PM ET

Roundtable: Texas showdown a warning shot for GOP establishment

(CNN) - Texas congressman Steve Stockman, a tea party favorite, just threw his hat in the ring for next year's Senate race, in a primary challenge against fellow Texan, and incumbent, Senator John Cornyn.

Cornyn is a member of the Senate Republican leadership, who has been ranked as one of the more conservative members of the Senate.

It's gearing up to be a showdown in the lone star state, and perhaps another warning shot for the Republican establishment.

CNN political commentator and The New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, Democratic strategist and former senior adviser to the Hillary Clinton campaign Kiki McLean, and White House correspondent for Yahoo News Olivier Knox discuss.

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buried lead

December 10th, 2013
05:44 PM ET

Network anchors no-shows at Mandela memorial

(CNN) - Nelson Mandela's memorial was an historic farewell, complete with a phalanx of camera crews, celebrities and more than 100 world leaders, past and present.

But a notable no-show at Tuesday's memorial were two American network news anchors. Of the so-called "big three," only NBC's Brian Williams was on hand to witness history.

So was it a media snub, or just a sign of the times?
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national lead

December 10th, 2013
05:26 PM ET

Biden meets with Newtown families, announces mental health funds

(CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden, an administration point man on reducing gun violence, met with families who lost loves ones in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre on Tuesday as the one-year anniversary of the shooting approaches.

Biden announced $100 million in new federal funding to improve mental health services.

CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta breaks down where the money will go.

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money lead

December 10th, 2013
05:23 PM ET

Why the first female CEO at GM is a 'huge deal'

(CNN) - General Motors on Tuesday promoted insider Mary Barra to serve as the new chief executive officer, the first female head of a major U.S. automaker.

The move is "a huge deal," said Fortune Magazine's Leigh Gallagher.

"There are a number of women who run these top corporations. But running a car company, just the meaning there, that this is Detroit, this is the auto industry, and its place on the Fortune 500, this is very, very significant," said Gallagher.
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