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6:30 PM ET, December 12, 2012

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 Top Items: 
Keith Hennessey:
A third option changes the negotiation  —  The conventional wisdom on the fiscal cliff is that there are two options: (1) an Obama-Boehner deal; or (2) no deal, in which case there is no legislation before the end of the year and we “go off the fiscal cliff.”
RELATED:
Mark Murray / First Read:
NBC/WSJ poll: Two-thirds support balanced deficit deal  —  As the Obama White House and Congress negotiate to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, nearly two-thirds of Americans say they favor a balanced deal to reduce the deficit — consisting of both higher tax rates and cuts to key entitlement programs.
New York Times:
Questions on Whether Boehner Could Sell a Deal to G.O.P.
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Amash: Boehner won't receive ‘much welcome’ in my district
Ramsey Cox / The Hill:
McConnell: Only thing left on the negotiating table ‘is the varnish’
Discussion: Taegan Goddard's …
Brian Beutler / Talking Points Memo:
Van Hollen: Boehner May Be Waiting Till After He's Re-Elected Speaker To Cut Budget Deal
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Rebecca Berg / BuzzFeed:
Democratic Budget Chief Accuses Boehner Of Stalling Fiscal Cliff Deal To Protect Speakership
Discussion: Daily Kos
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System:
For immediate release  —  Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in October suggests that economic activity and employment have continued to expand at a moderate pace in recent months, apart from weather-related disruptions.  Although the unemployment rate …
RELATED:
Neil Irwin / Wonkblog:
Huge news out of the Federal Reserve  —  Federal Reserve policymakers unveiled a huge surprise this afternoon.  The central bank has now laid out specific numbers for the inflation and unemployment rates that will lead it to start thinking about raising interest rates.
The Atlantic Online:
The Cliff Hangs on the Fed: Why Ben Bernanke Controls the Economy's Fate
Binyamin Appelbaum / New York Times:
Fed to Hold Rates Down Until Jobless Rate Is Below 6.5%
Mark Thoma / CBS News:
Fed shifts approach in how it gauges U.S. economy
Discussion: The Plum Line
Max Read / Gawker:
Do We Really Have to Condemn the Union Protestor Who Punched Fox News Comedian Steven Crowder?  —  Good, serious progressives are supposed to condemn violence as a political tactic, because it's wrong and in many cases counterproductive.  But do we really need to condemn the union protestor …
RELATED:
Jamelle Bouie / American Prospect:
The Republican Bait-and-Switch  —  Michigan Governor Rick Snyder opens the Detroit Regional Chamber 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference.  —  One striking thing about Governor Rick Snyder's successful push for a right-to-work law in Michigan—and Scott Walker's similar push against public employee unions …
RELATED:
David Weigel / Slate:
Rick Snyder Didn't Want to Sign Right-to-Work Legislation Until He Signed It
Discussion: The Week, The Fix and Post Politics
Alicia A. Caldwell / Associated Press:
GOV'T ARRESTS ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT SENATE INTERN  —  WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez employed as an unpaid intern in his Senate office an illegal immigrant who was a registered sex offender, now under arrest by immigration authorities, The Associated Press has learned.
RELATED:
Daniel Strauss / The Hill:
Immigration officials arrest Menendez intern
Discussion: Politico
Will Sommer / City Desk:
Rep. Jim Moran's Son Guilty of Beating Up His Girlfriend in Columbia Heights  —  Update, 4:30 p.m.: Rep. Moran says his son's incident was an accident, and Patrick Moran's girlfriend blames her injuries on a broken high heel.  —  Patrick Moran, the son of Democratic Virginia Rep. Jim Moran, is having a bad year.
Ed Kilgore / Washington Monthly:
The Political Advantages of Not Caring  —  Near the end of a column on the Michigan “right-to-work” coup, Jonathan Chait offers an important insight on why Republicans are willing and able to pull these sort of stunts: … It's kind of important to understand that this total hostility to the labor movement …
RELATED:
Angie Drobnic Holan / PolitiFact:
Lie of the Year: the Romney campaign's ad on Jeeps made in China  —  It was a lie told in the critical state of Ohio in the final days of a close campaign — that Jeep was moving its U.S. production to China.  It originated with a conservative blogger, who twisted an accurate news story into a falsehood.
ABCNEWS:
Barbara Walters' 2012 “Most Fascinating People”  —  Barbara tells “GMA” how she came up with this year's list.  —  Transcript for Barbara Walters' 2012 “Most Fascinating People”  —  Her husband wants her to.  But she's not sure.  Another person a lot of people talk about for running in 2016 …
RELATED:
Kevin Cirilli / Reuters:
ABC's Barbara Walters: Bill wants Hillary Clinton to run
Aviva Shen / ThinkProgress:
Lindsey Graham Compares Marriage Equality Debate To The Civil War  —  Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) waffled on his same-sex marriage stance Tuesday night, telling CNN's Piers Morgan he thinks states should have the right to decide marriage rights.  —  This is a departure from Graham's longstanding commitment …
John Tierney / New York Times:
Time and Punishment: Mandatory Sentences Face Growing Skepticism  —  TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Stephanie George and Judge Roger Vinson had quite different opinions about the lockbox seized by the police from her home in Pensacola.  She insisted she had no idea that a former boyfriend had hidden it in her attic.
Alexandra Jaffe / Ballot Box:
Powerful committee seats rewarded to Dems who survived tough races  —  Politics played a powerful role in Senate Democrats' committee assignments, announced on Wednesday, with many of the Sens.-elect who survived tough races given plum spots in powerful committees as a reward.
Discussion: Politico, CNN and The Daily Caller
TMZ.com:
Sarah Palin's Son Headed for Divorce Court  —  Son Headed for  —  DIVORCE COURT  —  EXCLUSIVE  —  Sarah Palin's oldest son has pulled the trigger on his marriage by filing for divorce ... TMZ has learned.  —  Track Palin and his wife, Britta, jointly filed divorce docs in an Alaskan court.
Discussion: Wonkette
Velvet Hammer / Ironic Surrealism:
Union Thugs Demolish Clint Tarver's Iconic Lansing,Michigan Hot Dog Cart [Photo-Donation Link] Update: Thugs Yelled “N*gger, Uncle Tom” Update 5: Audio: Clint Confirms The Slurs On The Dana Loesch Show  —  I support Clint: … Beyond the Cart: The Story of Clint Tarver:
RELATED:
Politico:
Joe L. Allbritton dies at 87  —  Joe L. Allbritton, who vaulted from modest means as a young man in post-World War II Texas to become one of the most influential media and financial figures of his generation, died Wednesday in Houston after several months of ill health.  He was 87.
Discussion: Deadline.com and FishbowlDC
Mike Dorning / Bloomberg:
Obama Wins Almost 50% Republicans on Tax Mandate in Poll  —  President Barack Obama won the public argument over taxes so decisively that almost half of Republicans now say he has an election mandate to raise rates on the rich.  —  Majorities of about 2-to-1 also read the election results …
 
 
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 More Items: 
Aaron / Senate Democrats:
Committee Assignments For 113th Congress Approved By Democratic Steering Committee
Guardian:
Chasing Ice movie reveals largest iceberg break-up ever filmed - video
Discussion: The Atlantic Online and Mashable!
Dana Milbank / Washington Post:
Scalia blocks the aisle against gay marriage
J.D. Tuccille / Hit & Run:
When Right-To-Work Is Wrong and Un-Libertarian
Discussion: National Review
Owen Gleiberman / EW.com:
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Discussion: TalkLeft and The Daily Dish
Robert Winnett / Telegraph:
Key David Cameron aide Craig Oliver threatens Telegraph over Leveson
Discussion: Guardian and BBC, more at Mediagazer »
 Earlier Items: 
Polling Analysis / Resurgent Republic:
The Hispanic Challenge and Opportunity for Republicans
Katie Pavlich / Townhall.com:
Jimmy Hoffa's Personal and Hypocritical Class War
Ryan J. Reilly / Talking Points Memo:
Eric Holder: Time To Consider National Voting Standards
Erik Wasson / The Hill:
Republicans question need for $60.4 billion in Hurricane Sandy aid