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2:40 PM ET, December 19, 2007


 Top Items: 
Fire hits building next door to White House  —  WASHINGTON (CNN) — Firefighters battled thick smoke and flames Wednesday inside the historic Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next door to the White House, which houses the vice president's ceremonial offices.
MeMeMeMeMe / Little Green Footballs:
Fire in Cheney's Office Causes Leftists to Rant Uncontrollably  —  There was a fire in Dick Cheney's office this morning, and as usual the leftist blogosphere is brimming over with lunatic ranting.  —  At Think Progress, the Morlocks who inhabit their comments are sure this is a ploy to cover up the destroying of documents.
Discussion: Daily Kos, MSNBC and Gateway Pundit
New York Times:
Bush Lawyers Discussed Fate of C.I.A.Tapes  —  WASHINGTON — At least four top White House lawyers took part in discussions with the Central Intelligence Agency between 2003 and 2005 about whether to destroy videotapes showing the secret interrogations of two operatives from Al Qaeda …
White House:
Statement by the Press Secretary  —  The New York Times today implies that the White House has been misleading in publicly acknowledging or discussing details related to the CIA's decision to destroy interrogation tapes.  —  The sub-headline of the story inaccurately says that the …
Faiz / Think Progress:
White House complex on fire.
Discussion: The Lede and A Blog For All
Washington Post:
White House Office Building Catches Fire
CNN:   White House: NYT wrong about CIA tapes
National Enquirer:
UPDATE: NATIONAL ENQUIRER WORLD EXCLUSIVE: JOHN EDWARDS LOVE CHILD SCANDAL!  —  Presidential candidate John Edwards is caught up in a love child scandal, a blockbuster ENQUIRER investigation has discovered.  —  The ENQUIRER has learned exclusively that Rielle Hunter, a woman linked to Edwards …
Howard Kurtz / Washington Post:
For Clinton, A Matter of Fair Media  —  Senator's Camp Insists That the Press Holds Her To a Tougher Standard  —  After weeks of bad news, Hillary Clinton and her strategists hoped that winning the endorsement of Iowa's largest newspaper last weekend might produce a modest bump in their media coverage.
Dan Smith / Sacramento Bee:
Clinton loses big chunk of her lead in California
Discussion: Taegan Goddard's …
CNN Political Ticker:
Clinton recaptures lead in New Hampshire
Marc Ambinder:
A Real Edwards Surge
Discussion: Salon
Christi Parsons / The Swamp:   Obama pals mad about mail — from their own union
Harold Meyerson / Washington Post:
Hard-liners for Jesus  —  As Christians across the world prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, it's a fitting moment to contemplate the mountain of moral, and mortal, hypocrisy that is our Christianized Republican Party.  —  There's nothing new, of course, about the Christianization of the GOP.
Adi Ignatius / Time:
Person of the Year: Vladimir Putin  —  A Tsar Is Born  —  No one is born with a stare like Vladimir Putin's.  The Russian President's pale blue eyes are so cool, so devoid of emotion that the stare must have begun as an affect, the gesture of someone who understood that power might be achieved …
Jonathan Martin / The Politico:
Tancredo to get out?  —  Tom Tancredo has scheduled a press conference in Des Moines tomorrow afternoon to make a “major announcement regarding the campaign,” according to a media advisory his campaign sent out today.  —  Asked whether Tancredo intended to drop out of the race …
Discussion: and Hot Air
David Horovitz / Jerusalem Post:
Prosecutor: Argentina bombings ordered by Iran  —  Iran orchestrated two bombings in Buenos Aires in the mid-1990s, killing more than 100 people, primarily because it was furious over Argentina's cessation of nuclear cooperation with the Islamic Republic, a top Argentinean prosecutor said Tuesday …
Karen DeYoung / Washington Post:
All Iraqi Groups Blame U.S. Invasion for Discord, Study Shows  —  Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the U.S. military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them, and see the departure of “occupying forces” as the key to national reconciliation …
Donna J. Miller / Cleveland Metro News:
Dennis Kucinich's 52-year-old brother found dead  —  Perry Kucinich, 52, was found dead in his home in the 4100 block of East 71st Street.  —  His brother Larry found him about 9 a.m. There were no signs of violence, officials said.  The Cuyahoga County Coroner is performing an autopsy this hour.
Brent Budowsky / The Hill:
Torture Tapes are the Watergate of Our Times  —  As I write these words on the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 19, high- and low-level officials of the Bush administration involved in torture, and the destruction of the torture tapes, are consulting their criminal lawyers as The New York Times reports …
Discussion: TPMCafe blogs
Maureen Dowd / New York Times:
Rush to Judgment  —  One of my male colleagues was explaining why men age better than women.  —  “It's evolutionary,” he said.  “As we wear out our wives, who are running around taking care of the kids, we know we're going to have to get another younger wife, so we stay good-looking.”
USA Today:
Strategy that is making Iraq safer was snubbed for years  —  When Army Capt. Jeremy Gwinn's company patrolled Baghdad in 2005, the approach toward roadside bombs was simple: avoid them or die.  —  By early 2006, that strategy had begun to shift: Instead of hunting for the bombs, the soldiers hunted for bombmakers.
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 More Items: 
David Frum / The National Interest:
Foggy Bloggom  —  MY NAME is David Frum, and I am a blogger.
David Freddoso / The Corner:
That Rasmussen Poll... Iowa suggests that John McCain …
Matthew Yglesias:
But Did They Get Royalties  —  Torture is no laughing matter …
Discussion: The Plank
Matthew Yglesias:
Holbrooke's Secret Plan
Associated Press:
Sarkozy loses patience with Assad
Anne Thompson / Variety:
MPAA rejects Gibney's ‘Dark’ poster
National Review:
Free Steyn  —  Our readers know Mark Steyn well.
Associated Press:
Trent Lott Resigns From U.S. Senate After Nearly Two Decades of Service
 Earlier Items: 
Tom CoyneAssociated / Indianapolis Star:
Rep. Donnelly says Iraq situation better
Tony Blankley / Real Clear Politics:
None Of The Above: GOP Heading To A Brokered Convention
Marc Ambinder:
First Look: Romney's “Searched”
Discussion: Hot Air
Josh Gerstein / New York Sun:
2,600 Pages of Clinton Records Withheld
Washington Post:
Iraq Funds Approved In Senate Budget Bill
Ed Morrissey / Captain's Quarters:
How Many Degrees Of Separation?  —  Blogosphere buzz today centers …
David Leonhardt / New York Times:
No. 1 Book, and It Offers Solutions