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9:45 AM ET, December 31, 2007


 Top Items: 
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
Washington Post:
Obama Tries New Tactics To Get Out Vote in Iowa  —  DES MOINES — In Sen. Barack Obama's Iowa headquarters, young staff members sit at computers, analyzing online voter data and targeting potential backers.  They zip one e-mail to an undecided voter and zap a different message to a firm supporter.
Mark Leibovich / New York Times:
Democrats Try Various Styles, and Pronouns
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
New York Times:
Candidates Step Up Attacks in Iowa
Discussion: The Politico and The Swamp
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 …
Discussion: The Belmont Club and Media Blog
Tariq Ali / The Independent:
My heart bleeds for Pakistan. …
Robert D. Novak / Washington Post:
What Bhutto Was Worried About
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  —  Wondering about the early response to Fred Thompson's closing argument to the people of Iowa, I just spent a moment skimming the comments on YouTube.  About a fifth of the several hundred posts seem unimpressed, but the rest are positive—many simply glowing.
Joe Mathews / Los Angeles Times:
Huckabee's double-edged faith  —  Religion helped him as governor, he says.  Some saw it as a hindrance.  —  ARKADELPHIA, ARK. — Five days after the tornado tore through the state, this city of 10,000 lay in ruins.  The cyclone destroyed an office building, a bank, a pharmacy and 70 other businesses.
Roger Simon / The Politico:
Huckabee says Romney owes him apology
Ann Althouse / Althouse:
“What one's sin is, means it's missing the mark. …
Pundit Review Radio / BLACKFIVE:
ANTI-MILITARY LAWYER DAMAGES MARINE'S CAR ON EVE OF DEPLOYMENT  —  This ought to make your blood boil.  And this Marine should receive a commendation for not kicking the living crap out of the guy...seriously.  —  Marine Sgt Mike McNulty is on activation orders to Iraq (second tour).
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.
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 …
Don Surber:
France stands up to Syria  —  No scarf for Sarkozy as he suspends diplomatic relations — over the Lebanese elections.  —  Nicolas Sarkozy — L'Americain — continues to show more courage in his little pinky than the Democratic Party combined when it comes to the War on Terrorism.
Associated Press:
Sarkozy severs ties with Syria
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.
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: Israel Matzav
Matthew Yglesias:
What's It All About?  —  As usual with calls for less partisanship and more moderation, the striking thing about this new initiative is its vacuousness.  There are two kinds of thing a centrist movement might reasonably stand for.  One would be a middle-ground approach to issues …
Discussion: Eschaton, USA Today and
Washington Post:
McCain's Unlikely Ties to K Street  —  Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took a break from the presidential campaign trail in March to fly to a posh Utah ski resort, where he mingled with hundreds of top corporate executives assembled by J.P. Morgan Chase for its annual leadership conference.
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 More Items: 
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
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
Daniel W. Drezner / Los Angeles Times:
Should celebrities set the global agenda?
 Earlier Items:
McCain our choice for GOP nomination
Roger Stone  —  On November 28, reason sat down for a discussion …
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blogs:
The Muslim smear, version 2.0
General Petraeus: man with a message of hope