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6:45 PM ET, December 18, 2007


 Top Items: 
USA Today:
Poll: Electability key among Democrats  —  WASHINGTON — Democratic voters increasingly are focused on nominating the most electable presidential candidate, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama fares better than New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton against prospective Republican rivals.
David Yepsen / Des Moines Register:
Don't rule out surges by Edwards, Thompson  —  There's a lot of buzz about the battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for Democratic caucus votes in Iowa.  And there's also a lot of talk about the fight between Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee on the Republican side.
Ed Morrissey / Captain's Quarters:
The Two Words That Strike Fear Into The GOP  —  They aren't Hillary Clinton, nor are they Ron Paul.  The two words that will haunt the early primary states are "brokered convention", and we may be heading towards it.  At Heading Right, I review the McClatchy analysis of what looks to be a Rudy Giuliani slide.
John Amato / Crooks and Liars:
Chris Matthews dismisses Carol Hunter of the Des Moines Register …
Discussion: My Left Wing and MSNBC
Ed Morrissey / Captain's Quarters:   The Fred Phenomenon?  —  Mike Huckabee's surge may not be the …
The Envelope Please . . .  So I have taken my time in deciding …
Discussion: TownHall Blog and
Ross Douthat:
Advice For the GOP Field
John Bresnahan / The Politico:
Dems consider ousting Byrd as appropriations chair  —  A group of Senate Democrats has begun quietly exploring ways to replace the venerable Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) as chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, believing he's no longer physically up to the job …
Martin Kady II / The Politico:
Reid: The American people are losing  —  If this is what winning looks like, then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants no part of it.  —  Tired of Republican crowing about winning on Iraq funding, the budget battle and the energy bill, Reid (D-Nev.) shot back on Tuesday afternoon.
Discussion: Captain's Quarters
Rsinderbrand / CNN Political Ticker:
McCain chooses Senate over stump
Discussion: The Crypt's Blogs
New York Times in Iraq: "Blackwater shot our dog"  —  BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The U.S. embassy in Iraq is investigating another deadly shooting incident involving its Blackwater bodyguards — this time of the New York Times's dog.  —  Staff at the newspaper's Baghdad bureau …
Mike Soraghan / The Hill:
Hoyer says Congress may not be able to patch AMT  —  House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) hinted Tuesday that Congress may not be able to stop a big tax increase from hitting 23 million Americans.  —  Hoyer, pressed on whether Congress would resolve disputes over the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), said, "Maybe."
CQ Politics:
House Chairman Ready to Accept AMT Patch
Discussion: Don Surber and The Corner
John Hawkins / Right Wing News:
New Fred Thompson Video: Kill.  Protect.  Punch.  —  If Fred wants to win the election, all he has to do is put this in constant rotation in Iowa and his victory would be guaranteed...or he would actually drop into last place.  One or the other.
Jennifer Parker / Political Radar:
Romney Attended Planned Parenthood Fundraiser in 1994  —  ABC News' Rick Klein Reports: Mitt Romney attended a fund-raising reception for Planned Parenthood in 1994 in conjunction with a $150 donation his wife made to the organization — notwithstanding Romney's contention that he had …
Anne Applebaum / Washington Post:
A Stanton For the Saudis  —  "A court in country X sentenced a black man who had been severely beaten by white men to six months in jail and 200 lashes."  —  How would you react if you read that in a newspaper?  Shock, horror, anger at the regime in country X, no doubt.
John Scalzi / Whatever:
The Sound of a Million Elves Celebrating  —  To my surprise, I find I'm on New Line Cinema's PR list, so let me pass on this bit of news: Peter Jackson's gonna make two films from The Hobbitt: … Why did this happen now, after many years of bitterness between Jackson and New Line over the Lord of the Rings payouts?
Tim Arango / New York Times:
Case Lays Bare the Media's Reliance on Iraqi Journalists  —  Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi photographer who had a hand in The Associated Press's 2005 Pulitzer Prize for photography before being jailed without charges by the United States military, finally had a day in court last week.
Charles Paul Freund / American Spectator:
A Brutalist Bargain  —  How many dollars does it take to change a light bulb?  Well, if the defunct bulb you're replacing has been illuminating the Third Church of Christ, Scientist in downtown Washington, you could be looking at a bill of up to $8,000.  That's because unscrewing a blown bulb …
Mary Katharine Ham / TownHall Blog:
The Worst Debate in Western History, Remixed  —  After Fred Barnes called last week's moderator Nurse Ratched, I threw this together for fun, putting Carolyn Washburn's words in the good nurse's mouth.  Creepy isn't she?
Discussion: BLACKFIVE and IMAO.US
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 More Items: 
Ed Morrissey / Captain's Quarters:
Let's Be Fair  —  James Taranto has provided conservative readers …
Carpetbagger / The Carpetbagger Report:
Huckabee touts 'the celebration of the birth of Christ' in ad
John M. Broder / New York Times:
House Passes Sweeping Energy Bill
Discussion: The Crypt's Blogs and MyDD
Jesse Lee / The Gavel:
House Passes Veterans Guaranteed Bonus Act of 2007
Discussion: Think Progress
Bud Cummins / Washington Monthly:
Brian Roehrkasse, Please Leave the Building
Discussion: Washington Wire
David Schraub / The Moderate Voice:
This Election Is About Torture
Jill Zuckman / The Swamp:
Once neutral, filmmaker Ken Burns picks Obama
Discussion: Obama HQ
MBA Announcement / Media Bloggers Association:
Newsweek and MBA create a Ruckus on
 Earlier Items: 
Digby / Hullabaloo:
Pox This  —  One of the kings of the FoxDemocrats …
Matthew Moore / Telegraph:
BBC's censorship of The Pogues: Reader fury
Winnie Hu / New York Times:
Princeton Student Admits Faking Attack
Greg Sargent / TPM Election Central:
GOP Senator Smith Defends Lott's Segregationist Comments …
Walter Shapiro / Salon:
America's next top Democrat
Matthew Yglesias:
Stay Classy, Bob Kerrey