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4:40 AM ET, December 20, 2012

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 Top Items: 
Brian Beutler / Talking Points Memo:
Did Boehner Just Pull The Plug On Fiscal Cliff Negotiations?  —  In response to President Obama's extensive comments about the fiscal cliff at the White House Wednesday afternoon, House Speaker John Boehner left himself little if any room to continue negotiations.
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Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
House Republicans Again Show Why We Need to Wait Until January for a Deal  —  For about half a day, in the wake of President Obama's most recent budget compromise, it appeared that an agreement might be close at hand.  Boehner was reported to be taking the temperature of his crazies on Obama's plan.
Discussion: Hot Air, BuzzFeed and Taking Note
Ryan Ellis / Americans for Tax Reform RSS:
ATR Statement on “Plan B” Tax Plan
Kate Nocera / Politico:
Norquist giving House Republicans a pass on Boehner's ‘Plan B’
Jennifer Rubin / Right Turn:
More trouble for Hagel  —  Joining other groups and individuals opposing Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, the generally liberal American Jewish Committee (among the older and better known Jewish organizations) has signaled it opposes the potential nomination.  Executive director David Harris e-mails me the following:
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Adam Kredo / Washington Free Beacon:
Rejecting Chuck Hagel  —  Former Republican Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel may no longer be President Obama's favored pick to run the Defense Department, sources told the Free Beacon.  —  Hagel immediately drew a frosty reception from observers who criticized him for advocating in favor …
Associated Press:
Possible Hagel Pick Raises Concerns in Senate GOP  —  President Barack Obama's possible pick of Republican Chuck Hagel to run the Pentagon raises serious concerns among some of his former Senate colleagues, who question his pronouncements on Iraq, Israel and the Middle East.
Discussion: Politico
NRO Symposium / National Review:
Newtown Answers  —  Twenty children and six adults are dead.  In Nigeria, people put their lives at risk going to church on Sundays.  But in New England?  The thought that going to school could be a final act is hard for us to comprehend.  The seeming senselessness of what happened …
RELATED:
jessica valenti:   National Review: Newtown could have been avoided if a man was around
Jeffrey Toobin / News Desk:
Postscript: Robert Bork, 1927-2012  —  Robert Bork, who died Wednesday, was an unrepentant reactionary who was on the wrong side of every major legal controversy of the twentieth century.  The fifty-eight senators who voted against Bork for confirmation to the Supreme Court in 1987 honored themselves, and the Constitution.
RELATED:
Jeffrey Rosen / The New Republic:
We're Still Paying the Price for the Borking of Robert Bork
Jeff Poor / The Daily Caller:
Tapper to Obama on newfound gun control advocacy: ‘Where have you been?’  —  ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper asked President Barack Obama Wednesday why the president's plea for action on gun issues has come so late in his first term and only after last week's tragic incident at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.
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Emily Goodin / The Hill:
Spielberg, Day-Lewis at Capitol for screening of ‘Lincoln’ for senators  —  The two stars brought the Senate to a halt when they arrived for a bipartisan viewing of their hit movie.  —  Actor Daniel Day-Lewis and director Steven Spielberg brought the Senate to a halt on Wednesday afternoon …
Discussion: Politico and CNN
RELATED:
Stephen Galloway / Hollywood Reporter:
Steven Spielberg: In 2012, ‘Chris Christie Was a Hero for Me’ (Q&A)
Discussion: Politico, Taylor Marsh and GOP 12
Eric Schmitt / New York Times:
3 State Department Resignations After Libya Attack Report  —  WASHINGTON — Three State Department officials resigned under pressure on Wednesday following a report that detailed “grossly inadequate” security measures at the United States Mission in Benghazi, Libya, on the night assailants besieged …
Zack Colman / The Hill:
Obama: Climate change among top three priorities for second term  —  President Obama has identified climate change as one of his top three priorities in his second term after coming under fire from environmentalists for giving the issue short shrift during the campaign.
RELATED:
TIME:   Setting the Stage for a Second Term
Matt Townsend / Bloomberg:
Guns Out of Stock at Wal-Mart as Magazine Prices Surge on  —  With President Barack Obama endorsing sweeping gun restrictions in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, prices for handgun magazines are surging on EBay (EBAY) and semi-automatic rifles are sold out at many Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) locations.
CNN:
CNN Poll: Bare majority now support major gun restrictions  —  Washington (CNN) - Americans are reacting to the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut with elevated levels of anger, shock and fear that have led a growing number of people to look for action from the government and society …
Kevin Robillard / Politico:
Joe Manchin: 'I'm so proud of the NRA'  —  'I'm not supporting a ban on anything.  I'm supporting a conversation on everything,' Manchin said.  AP Photo  —  Close  —  West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who suggested earlier in the week that the time had come for some gun control restrictions …
Discussion: Daily Kos, Balloon Juice and Mediaite
RELATED:
Mike Lillis / The Hill:   Sensing political shift, Pelosi, Dems call for ban on high-capacity gun clips
Shauna Johnson / WV MetroNews:
Senator Manchin attempts clarification
Discussion: Politico and The Hill
Robert Rizzuto / Union-News:
Sen. Scott Brown says he now supports a federal ban on assault weapons  —  Although he once said banning so-called assault weapons fell under the category of issues best left to the states, Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown told The Republican / MassLive.com in an exclusive interview Wednesday that he now supports federal action.
Discussion: 2chambers, The Hill and Post Politics
RELATED:
Andrew Kaczynski / BuzzFeed:
The Assault Weapon Ban Would Have Never Passed If It Wasn't For Ronald Reagan
Discussion: msnbc.com and Outside the Beltway
Michael Scherer / TIME:
2012 Person of the Year: Barack Obama, the President  —  Twenty-seven years after driving from New York City to Chicago in a $2,000 Honda Civic for a job that probably wouldn't amount to much, Barack Obama, in better shape but with grayer hair, stood in the presidential suite on the top floor …
Lee Enterprises / St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Barber shop conversation in Wentzville about Connecticut shootings ends with shots fired at customer  —  • By Susan Weich sweich@post-dispatch.com 636-493-9674  —  WENTZVILLE  • A barber shop patron who fired three times at another customer discussing the Connecticut school shooting has been charged with three felonies.
Discussion: protein wisdom
Frank Newport / Gallup:
To Stop Shootings, Americans Focus on Police, Mental Health  —  Democrats substantially more likely to see assault gun ban as effective  —  PRINCETON, NJ — Americans are most likely to say that an increased police presence at schools, increased government spending on mental health screening and treatment …
 
 
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 More Items: 
Scott Rubin / Benzinga:
Gun Stocks Plunging Again
Discussion: The Raw Story
John Hinderaker / Power Line:
Miss USA Wins the Crown
Lisa Daftari / Fox News:
American pastor imprisoned without notice of charges while visiting family in Iran
Discussion: Weasel Zippers and National Review
Ted Barrett / CNN:
FIRST ON CNN: Sen. Mikulski to chair Appropriations Committee, becoming first woman to hold the post
Discussion: Politico and Booman Tribune
David Martosko / The Daily Caller:
Obamacare could drive Little Sisters of the Poor out of the US
Discussion: National Review and Hot Air
Laura Vozzella / Washington Post:
Va. bill would order schools to arm teachers
 Earlier Items: 
Samuel Knight / Washington Monthly:
“Fix the Debt” - Defense Contractor Ties Exposed
Kos / Daily Kos:
Capitulation is never popular. Or effective.
Adolph L. Reed Jr / New York Times:
The Puzzle of Black Republicans
 

 
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