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8:40 PM ET, December 13, 2011

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 Top Items: 
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Paul closes in on Gingrich  —  There has been some major movement in the Republican Presidential race in Iowa over the last week, with what was a 9 point lead for Newt Gingrich now all the way down to a single point.  Gingrich is at 22% to 21% for Paul with Mitt Romney at 16% …
RELATED:
Mark Murray / msnbc.com:
NBC/WSJ poll: Romney struggles with primary voters, Gingrich with general electorate  —  Why the difference between Mitt Romney, left, and Newt Gingrich, right?  Look no further than the two men's favorability ratings.  —  By Mark Murray, Deputy Political Director, NBC News
Washington Post:
Romney blasts Gingrich as ‘extremely unreliable’ conservative leader  —  BOSTON—Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney blasted rival Newt Gingrich Tuesday as an “extremely unreliable leader in the conservative world” who has taken positions in this campaign that should give GOP voters pause …
Susan Page / USA Today:
Swing States Poll: Downbeat Dems, resurgent Republicans  —  WASHINGTON - President Obama is moving to energize the Democratic base for his re-election campaign, but in the case of a dozen battleground states, he'll have to work harder than four years ago to find it.
Kevin Hall / The Iowa Republican:
TIR Focus Group: Evangelicals Will Revolt Against Romney Nomination  —  A focus group of Iowa conservative activists gathered recently to discuss the upcoming caucuses.  The group, organized by TheIowaRepublican.com in conjunction with McClatchy newspapers, included a retiree, a college student …
Jennifer Jacobs / Iowa Caucuses:
Gingrich's Iowa political director leaves campaign after Mormonism remarks  —  Craig Bergman (Dave Davidson / Prezography.com)  —  The new political director for Newt Gingrich's Iowa campaign thinks that some evangelicals believe God would reject Mitt Romney because of his Mormonism.
Discussion: The Politico and Right Wing News
Josh Lederman / Ballot Box:
Gingrich Iowa staffer resigns after calling Mormonism a ‘cult’
Discussion: CNN
Josh Lederman / The Hill:
Mitt Romney starts to show cracks as front-runner status slips further
Discussion: The Politico, CNN and Prairie Weather
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Trump pulls out of GOP debate  —  Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he will not moderate next month's GOP debate sponsored by Newsmax.  —  The reality televison show host's decision came after most Republican candidates declined to participate in the debate, with only Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum agreeing to appear.
RELATED:
Catalina Camia / USA Today:
Donald Trump bows out as GOP debate moderator
Bobby Bank / ABCNEWS:
Donald Trump Backs Out of Debate, Floating Independent Bid
Greta Van Susteren / Gretawire:
Donald Trump News!
Discussion: The Daily What and Mediaite
Alexander Burns / The Politico:
Trump bows out of GOP debate
Brian Beutler / tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com:
TPMDC  —  Dems To GOP: Deal Fairly On Payroll Tax Or Shut Down The Government  —  Senate Democrats and the White House are executing a strategy to prevent House Republicans from jamming them with legislation to extend the current payroll tax cut that's been larded up with GOP goodies, according to White House and Congressional aides.
RELATED:
Pete Kasperowicz / The Hill:
House passes payroll tax cut extension bill despite veto threat
Discussion: The Politico
The Hill:
Republican leaders say they'll have the votes to pass payroll-tax bill
Discussion: The Politico and CNN
Pete Kasperowicz / The Hill:
House Dems accuse GOP of setting up tax bill to fail on purpose
Discussion: The Politico and Weasel Zippers
Brian Stelter / Media Decoder:
Amanpour to Leave ABC's ‘This Week’ and Rejoin CNN  —  Updated Christiane Amanpour is leaving the anchor chair of ABC's “This Week” and returning to her old network home, CNN, as the anchor of an evening newscast on CNN International.  —  The changes, confirmed Tuesday evening …
RELATED:
Associated Press:
Stephanopoulos back to replace Amanpour at ABC's ‘This Week,’ will remain host of ‘GMA’
Michael Calderone / The Huffington Post:
Christiane Amanpour To Leave ‘This Week’ But Remain At ABC, Host New CNN International Show
Scott Baker / TheBlaze.com:
GINGRICH FLASHBACK: ‘PROGRESSIVE’ FDR WAS ‘GREATEST PRESIDENT OF THE 20TH CENTURY’ (PLUS - SEIU'S ANDY STERN IS VISIONARY UNION LEADER!)  —  Scroll down for the video — or read this first:  —  I've always liked the feisty tone Newt Gingrich brings to debate.
RELATED:
Mark Finkelstein / NewsBusters.org:
Scarborough: Like Beck, I'd Consider Third-Party Ron Paul Over Gingrich
Ben Smith / The Politico:
Gingrich misses a McCain moment
Jonah Goldberg / National Review:
All-American Mess  —  I'd bet that TLC's All-American Muslim is a pretty dull show that borders on hagiography.  But I still don't get why anyone would get so mad about it.  As I understand it, the show depicts Muslim families as more moderate, more American than some stereotypes.  Is that really so horrible?
RELATED:
Mike M. Ahlers / CNN:
NTSB recommends full ban on use of cell phones while driving  —  Washington (CNN) — Federal accident investigators Tuesday called for a nationwide ban on the use of cell phones and text messaging devices while driving.  —  Study: Half of young people text, drive
RELATED:
Matt Richtel / New York Times:
U.S. Safety Board Urges Cell Phone Ban for Drivers
Discussion: Truthdig and Gawker
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System:
For immediate release  —  Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in November suggests that the economy has been expanding moderately, notwithstanding some apparent slowing in global growth.  While indicators point to some improvement in overall labor market conditions, the unemployment rate remains elevated.
Lynn Sweet:
Axelrod on Newt: “the higher a monkey climbs...the more you can see his butt.”  —  Obama 2012 Press Secretary Ben LaBolt, Strategist David Axelrod, Campaign Manager Jim Messina, Deputy Manager Stephanie Cutter at Tuesday press briefing at the DNC.  (photo by Lynn Sweet)
Discussion: Mediaite
RELATED:
Rep. Dennis Cardoza / The Hill:
Opinion: Obama would rather be university professor than president  —  After observing President Obama for the last three years, it has become obvious to me that the President might prefer to be a university professor rather than do the job he holds today.  While he may not realize that he feels …
Mike Allen / The Politico:
SCARBOROUGH: ROMNEY LOOKING MORE LIKABLE — Michael Duffy promoted - Perry Bacon leaves WashPost - What Peter Watkins is up to - ABC's ‘This Week’ unveils debate series  —  WEST WING MINDMELD: “On Sunday, the President spoke to Senator Reid, and they decided that Congress cannot go home …
Hank Stuever / Washington Post:
Chelsea Clinton makes broadcast debut on NBC's ‘Rock Center’  —  It's no surprise whatsoever that Chelsea Clinton didn't electrify broadcast journalism with her debut Monday night on NBC's “Rock Center With Brian Williams,” because she has no experience in broadcast journalism.
Derek Thompson / The Atlantic Online:
The Graph That Proves Economic Forecasters Are Almost Always Wrong  —  As the saying goes: “It's hard to make predictions.  Especially about the future.”  Thirty years ago, it was obvious to everybody that oil prices would keep going up forever.  Twenty years ago, it was obvious that Japan would own the 21st century.
Discussion: Bloomberg and Via Meadia
Dennis Cauchon / USA Today:
Household electricity bills skyrocket  —  Electric bills have skyrocketed in the last five years, a sharp reversal from a quarter-century when Americans enjoyed stable power bills even as they used more electricity.  —  Households paid a record $1,419 on average for electricity in 2010 …
Discussion: Power Line and The Enterprise Blog
 
 
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 More Items: 
Jonah Goldberg / Los Angeles Times:
Newtzilla to the rescue  —  Many feel that a Gingrich victory might …
Gene Marks / Quicker Better Tech:
If I Were A Poor Black Kid
Jennifer Epstein / The Politico:
Barack Obama on economic crisis: 'We didn't know how bad it was'
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Ravi Somaiya / New York Times:
2008 E-Mail Alerted James Murdoch to Hacking
CNN:
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Discussion: Firedoglake and ThinkProgress
Steven Ertelt / LifeNews.com:
Kermit Gosnell's Wife Pleads Guilty to Abortion Horrors
Discussion: Hot Air and The PJ Tatler
 Earlier Items: 
Reuters:
US halts $700 million in aid to Pakistan, demands action on Taliban bombs
Michiko Kakutani / New York Times:
Deconstructing the Bouffant and the Bland
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Blunt defeats Johnson in race for Senate GOP leadership post
Jonathan Macey / Wall Street Journal:
Congress's Phony Insider-Trading Reform
Discussion: Big Government and The Big Picture
Fars News Agency:
Obama Begs Iran to Give Him Back His Toy Plane
Discussion: Washington Post and Campaign 2012
Alicia M. Cohn / The Hill:
Rep. Issa asks Obama official why illegal camping of Occupy DC was permitted
Erik Wasson / The Hill:
Yearly deficit falls below $1 trillion for the first time under Obama
 

 
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