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10:10 AM ET, December 31, 2007


 Top Items: 
Robert D. Novak / Washington Post:
What Bhutto Was Worried About  —  The assassination of Benazir Bhutto followed two months of urgent pleas to the State Department by her representatives for better protection.  The U.S. reaction was that she was worried over nothing, expressing assurance that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf would not let anything happen to her.
Discussion: Captain's Quarters
Philip Sherwell / Telegraph:
Bhutto ‘blocked from hiring US bodyguards’  —  Benazir Bhutto was so fearful for her life that she tried to hire British and American security experts to protect her, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.  —  But the plans collapsed because President Pervez Musharraf refused to allow …
Tariq Ali / The Independent:
My heart bleeds for Pakistan. …
Ben Smith / The Politico:
In Iowa, Bubba is back  —  CHEROKEE, IA — Before he was a silver-haired elder statesman, ex-president, and globe-trotting do-gooder, Bill Clinton was Bubba.  —  And out in rural Western Iowa, Bubba is back.  —  The ex-president, in a nice gray suit, spoke to packed rooms in three …
Laura Meckler / Wall Street Journal:
Romney Claws Back in Iowa Polls  —  Huckabee Plans TV Ads To Attack His Chief Rival; 3 Democrats in Tight Race  —  DES MOINES, Iowa — Mike Huckabee's surge in Iowa showed signs of retreat as three new polls found rival Mitt Romney, who has attacked Mr. Huckabee by land and by air, climbing back.
Discussion: USA Today, TIME and All Spin Zone
Washington Post:   Obama Tries New Tactics To Get Out Vote in Iowa
Mark Leibovich / New York Times:
Democrats Try Various Styles, and Pronouns
Washington Post:
Huckabee, Romney Make Sunday Push for Evangelicals
Discussion: Boston Globe, Cliff Schecter and MSNBC
E. J. Dionne Jr / Washington Post:
Thunder in the Heartland  —  PERRY, Iowa — In the state …
Discussion: Captain's Quarters
New York Times:
With New Poll Results, Candidates Scramble for Edge in Caucuses
Discussion: truthout and Baltimore Sun
Los Angeles Times:
U.S. lawmakers visit Syria  —  Specter and Kennedy travel to Damascus from Israel on a peacemaking trip.  —  DAMASCUS, Syria — A pair of U.S. lawmakers visited the Syrian capital on Sunday in an attempt to persuade the Arab state to make peace with Israel and woo it from the Iranian sphere of influence.
Discussion: Hot Air
Associated Press:
Sarkozy severs ties with Syria
Discussion: Captain's Quarters
Peter Robinson / The Corner:
Thompson Makes His Move  —  On the Internet as of sometime this afternoon, Fred Thompson's closing argument to the people of Iowa.  —  Whereas Romney is saturating the airwaves with attack ads, Thompson pays the voters the courtesy of speaking calmly, and in detail—the video runs to just over 15 minutes.
Peter Robinson / The Corner:
Re: Thompson Makes His Move
New York Times:
Looking at America  —  There are too many moments these days when we cannot recognize our country.  Sunday was one of them, as we read the account in The Times of how men in some of the most trusted posts in the nation plotted to cover up the torture of prisoners by Central Intelligence Agency interrogators …
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
The Great Divide  —  Yesterday The Times published a highly informative chart laying out the positions of the presidential candidates on major issues.  It was, I'd argue, a useful reality check for those who believe that the next president can somehow usher in a new era of bipartisan cooperation.
Mary Jacoby / Wall Street Journal:
Ron Paul's War Chest Swelled in 4th Quarter  —  Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul may lag behind in public-opinion polls.  But after raising about $19 million for the final three months of the year, he is now among his party's front-runners in the race for campaign cash.
Discussion: The Caucus and The Swamp
Sam Roberts / New York Times:
Bloomberg Moves Closer to Running for President  —  Buoyed by the still unsettled field, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City is growing increasingly enchanted with the idea of making an independent presidential bid, and his aides are aggressively laying the groundwork for him to run.
Khaled Abu Toameh / Jerusalem Post:
Aksa Martyrs Brigades calls for Fayad's assassination  —  Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, on Sunday called for the murder of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad for “collaboration” with Israel and the US.  —  This was the first time the group has openly called for Fayad's assassination.
Discussion: A Blog For All and Israel Matzav
Obama's Jakarta Friends Recall a Would-Be Leader, Tattle-Tale  —  Dec. 31 (Bloomberg) — Barack Obama's teachers and fellow students during his four years of grade school in Indonesia aren't all that surprised that he is now a top U.S. presidential candidate.
Glenn R. Simpson / Wall Street Journal:
Lender Lobbying Blitz Abetted Mortgage Mess  —  Ameriquest Pressed  —  For Changes in Laws; A Battle in New Jersey  —  During the housing boom, the subprime industry succeeded at more than just writing mortgages.  It also shot down efforts by some states to curtail risky lending to borrowers with spotty credit.
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 More Items: 
Kate Zernike / New York Times:
After a Son's Death, a Shared Mission in Politics
Discussion: TIME
Beth Fouhy / Associated Press:
Chelsea Clinton Guards Her Words
Roxanne / Rox Populi:
Explaining Michael Bloomberg and the Six People Who Support …
Discussion: Eschaton and Fact-esque
Patti Davis / Newsweek:
In the Name of the Father...
Discussion: Political Machine
Edward Cody / Washington Post:
For China's Journalism Students, Censorship Is a Core Concept
Washington Post:
McCain's Unlikely Ties to K Street
 Earlier Items: 
Matthew Yglesias:
What's It All About?  —  As usual with calls for less partisanship …
Joe Mathews / Los Angeles Times:
Huckabee's double-edged faith
Elizabeth Kolbert / New Yorker:
OLD HABITS  —  How the Giuliani method may defeat him.
Jane Hamsher / Firedoglake:
Iowa Here We Come  —  In the airport on my way to Des Moines …
Discussion: TalkLeft
McCain our choice for GOP nomination
General Petraeus: man with a message of hope