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12:40 PM ET, January 21, 2012

memeorandum

 Top Items: 
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Newt expands South Carolina lead  —  Newt Gingrich heads into South Carolina election day as the clear front runner in the state: he's now polling at 37% to 28% for Mitt Romney, 16% for Rick Santorum, and 14% for Ron Paul.  —  Gingrich's lead has actually increased in the wake of his ex-wife's controversial interview with ABC.
RELATED:
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
Gingrich Is Well-Positioned as South Carolina Votes  —  Newt Gingrich, who had trailed Mitt Romney by a double-digit margin in South Carolina in several polls conducted just after the New Hampshire primary, may instead be headed to a big victory there, recent polling suggests.
Niall Stanage / Ballot Box:
Doubts creep in as an awkward Romney tries not to lose GOP nod  —  What's wrong with Mitt Romney?  —  In the early stages of this cycle's Republican nominating process, the former Massachusetts governor seemed confident and sure-footed.  Now he seems awkward and defensive.
Chuck Norris / WND:
MY ENDORSEMENT FOR PRESIDENT  —  Exclusive: Chuck Norris reveals his choice for Republican nomination  —  Our republic as America's founders created it is under assault from extremists outside our country and anti-constitutionalists inside our country.  Combined with the flailing American economy …
Cameron Joseph / Ballot Box:
Romney demands Gingrich release contract for Freddie Mac work  —  GREENVILLE, S.C. — Mitt Romney called on Newt Gingrich to release all correspondence he'd had with mortgage giant Freddie Mac on Saturday morning, the day of South Carolina's primary, while meeting with supporters at his Upstate South Carolina campaign headquarters.
Discussion: CNN
Ross Douthat:
The Momentum of Ideas  —  During last night's Republican debate, the candidates were asked to name something from the campaign that they would have done differently.  Here was Newt Gingrich's answer: … I have, for my sins, watched Gingrich make his pitch across what feels …
Conn Carroll / Campaign 2012:
America hates Newt Gingrich  —  Unlike Mitt Romney, who occasionally beats President Obama in general election poll match ups, Newt Gingrich trails far behind President Obama in every survey.  But just how bad are Gingrich's unfavorable among the general public compared to Obama and Romney?
Maggie Haberman / The Politico:
Santorum now the Iowa winner, officially  —  This statement just landed from the Republican Party of Iowa, just about 20 minutes shy of midnight: … This is a switch from the party's stand yesterday morning, that the results were inconclusive and a winner couldn't be called because of a number …
Trip Gabriel / New York Times:
A Test for Gingrich as Political Strategist
Discussion: The Caucus and TalkLeft
A.Killough / CNN:
Colbert: Vote for Cain, he's on the ballot
Discussion: The Politico and Hardball Blog
Shushannah Walshe / ABCNEWS:
Santorum: Newt Has ‘Issues of Character’
Discussion: Hot Air
Matt Stout / Boston Herald:
Sen. Scott Brown urges Romney, Gingrich — come clean
Ron Edmonds / Investor's Business Daily:
Exactly 3 years in, Obama's job approval hits lowest level yet  —  Exactly three years after Aretha Franklin's hat launched the Obama administration, the Democrat's annual job approval rating has sunk to his lowest level.  —  That's not normally a good sign after 1,095 days in office.  But who's counting?
RELATED:
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
Obama Averages 44% Approval in 3rd Year  —  Averaged 43% job approval in most recent quarter in office  —  PRINCETON, NJ — President Barack Obama averaged 44% job approval for his third full year in office, which ended Jan. 19.  His third-year average is down slightly from his second-year average …
Tara Siegel Bernard / New York Times:
Blacks Face Bias in Bankruptcy, Study Suggests  —  Blacks are about twice as likely as whites to wind up in the more onerous and costly form of consumer bankruptcy as they try to dig out from their debts, a new study has found.  —  The disparity persisted even when the researchers adjusted for income …
Discussion: SSRN and Prairie Weather
Charles Murray / Wall Street Journal:
The New American Divide  —  The ideal of an ‘American way of life’ is fading as the working class falls further away from institutions like marriage and religion and the upper class becomes more isolated.  Charles Murray on what's cleaving America, and why.  —  America is coming apart.
Mortimer B. Zuckerman / US News:
Barack Obama's Middle East Miscalculation  —  In Egypt, we are witnessing the democratic election of a dictatorship  —  A little-noticed event gives a grim insight into what is really happening in the Middle East.  The euphoria of the “Arab Spring,” the instant Twitter-style transition …
Charles P. Pierce / Esquire:
Our Mr. Brooks Climbs The Romney Family Tree  —  The applause came from deep in the plush leather armchairs gathered by the fireplace in the clubroom of the Premature Fogies Club.  It was warm and sustaining, as was the morning brandy.  People touched the patches on his master's blazer as he walked by.
Wall Street Journal:
Justices Bar Texas Court's Election Map  —  WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court on Friday ordered new interim maps drawn for Texas' April 3 primary, handing Republicans a partial if possibly short-lived victory in a battle over as many as four House seats.  —  The unsigned decision sends the case …
RELATED:
Orin Kerr / The Volokh Conspiracy:
How Should the Supreme Court Rule on the Individual Mandate?
Discussion: Hit & Run and The Other McCain
Brendan Sasso / The Hill:
Consumer group accuses Hollywood of ‘threatening politicians’  —  Consumer group Public Knowledge on Friday accused the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and its head, former Sen. Chris Dodd, of trying to intimidate lawmakers into supporting a pair of controversial anti-piracy bills.
 
 
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 More Items: 
Henry Samuel / Telegraph:
France plans Napoleonland
Guardian:
Undercover police had children with activists
Discussion: Boing Boing and Harry's Place
ABCNEWS:
Obama Makes ‘Change Is’ Focus of Re-Election Pitch
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Mark Steyn / Orange County Register:
No more ‘women and children first’  —  When Western civilization hits …
Discussion: AMERICAN DIGEST and Ed Driscoll
Amie Parnes / The Hill:
President Obama holds call to gather ‘input’ on State of the Union
Emily Goodin / Ballot Box:
Florida debate uncertain without Romney commitment
Discussion: CNN, www2.tbo.com and Pat Dollard
Greg Sargent / Washington Post:
Left to Obama: Time for constitutional amendment against Citizens United
 Earlier Items: 
Molly K. Hooper / The Hill:
House Republicans on retreat focus on picking their fights in election year
Discussion: The Politico
New York Times:
Etta James, Powerful Voice Behind ‘At Last,’ Dies at 73
Discussion: Washington Post, Guardian and News One
William Tucker / American Spectator:
Environmentalism and the Leisure Class
Discussion: The Hill and Power Line
Keith Laing / The Hill:
Lawmakers reach labor deal to clear FAA funding for takeoff
Molly Wood / CNET:
Anonymous goes nuclear; everybody loses?
Ben Fischer / bizjournals:
Supreme Court's Antonin Scalia sounds off at law gathering
Discussion: LifeNews.com and Shakesville