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6:00 PM ET, December 22, 2009


 Top Items: 
Josh Kraushaar / The Politico:
House Dem blames leaders for party switch  —  Democratic Rep. Parker Griffith announced Tuesday that he's switching parties - saying he can no longer align himself “with a party that continues to pursue legislation that is bad for our country, hurts our economy and drives us further and further into debt.”
Erick Erickson / RedState:
BREAKING: Rep. Parker Griffith switches to GOP  —  Rep. Parker Griffith, an Alabama Democrat is switching to the GOP today.  —  That is a huge blow to Barack Obama.  Griffith was an extremely endangered Democrat.  —  We should now hope him be an extremely endangered Republican in a primary.
Josh Kraushaar / Scorecard's Blog:
Griffith getting primaried  —  Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith may be switching parties to improve his reelection prospects, but he'll be facing a competitive Republican primary against a GOP elected official already in the race.  —  Madison County Commissioner Mo Brooks will be remaining in the race …
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
Parker Griffith Switching Parties
The Hill:
Griffith said Dem agenda is reason for his party switch
Jay Cost / HorseRaceBlog:
On the Parker Griffith Switch
Michelle Malkin:
Early Christmas gift: Alabama Democrat announces switch to GOP Updated …
Discussion: American Power
Quinnipiac University:
U.S. Voters Oppose Health Care Plan By Wide Margin, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Voters Say 3-1, Plan Should Not Pay For Abortions  —  As the Senate prepares to vote on health care reform, American voters “mostly disapprove” of the plan 53 - 36 percent and disapprove 56 …
John McCormack / Weekly Standard:
Reid Bill Says Future Congresses Cannot Repeal Parts of Reid Bill  —  Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) pointed out some rather astounding language in the Senate health care bill during floor remarks tonight.  First, he noted that there are a number of changes to Senate rules in the bill …
William Kristol / Weekly Standard:
Kristol: It Could Still Go Down  —  I've assumed for the last couple of days that the Democrats would succeed in passing the health care bill, and that our job was to make sure it turned out to be a Pyrrhic victory.  Now I'm not so sure the legislation can't still be derailed.  —  Two reasons:
Erick Erickson / Erick's blog:
We Are No Longer a Nation of Laws.  Senate Sets Up Requirement for Super-Majority to Ever Repeal Obamacare  —  If ever the people of the United States rise up and fight over passage of Obamacare, Harry Reid must be remembered as the man who sacrificed the dignity of his office for a few pieces of silver.
Megan McArdle:   The Process of Passing Health Care
Scott Wilson / Washington Post:
Obama rejects criticism on health-care reform legislation  —  President Obama rejected in an interview Tuesday the criticism that he has compromised too much in order to secure health-care reform legislation, challenging his critics to identify any “gap” between what he campaigned on last year …
Charles Dharapak / Truthdig:
Michele Bachmann: Welfare Queen  —  Michele Bachmann has become well known for her anti-government tea-bagger antics, protesting health care reform and every other government “handout” as socialism.  What her followers probably don't know is that Rep. Bachmann is, to use that anti-government slur, something of a welfare queen.
Eric Kleefeld / TPMDC:
Poll: Bachmann Popular In Her District …
Discussion: Poll Tracker
Ralph Z. Hallow / Washington Times:
EXCLUSIVE: Ex-RNC chiefs rip Steele speaking fees  —  Party chairman charging $8,000 to $20,000  —  Michael S. Steele, Republican National Committee chairman, is using his title to market himself for paid appearances nationwide, personally profiting from speeches with fees of up to $20,000 at colleges …
Row 2, Seat 4:
RNC Chair Alleges, Without Proof, White House Took CBO to …
Discussion: The Hill and Political Punch
Obama makes ‘surprise’ call to Gov. Kaine  —  WASHINGTON - Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine received an unusual phone call while taking calls on WTOP's Ask the Governor program Tuesday.  —  It was President Barack Obama.  —  Kaine, unaware that caller “Barry from D.C.” would be Obama, reacted with surprise when the president said who he was.
Discussion: Weekly Standard
Natalie Angier / New York Times:
Sorry, Vegans: Brussels Sprouts Like to Live, Too  —  I stopped eating pork about eight years ago, after a scientist happened to mention that the animal whose teeth most closely resemble our own is the pig.  Unable to shake the image of a perky little pig flashing me a brilliant George Clooney smile …
Lesley Clark / Naked Politics:
The Diaz-Balarts withdraw Charlie Crist endorsement  —  Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart have pulled their endorsement of Gov. Charlie Crist for the U.S. Senate.  —  Lincoln offered few details as to why, just that Crist had “left us no alternative and he knows why.”
Sean Higgins / Investor's Business Daily:
Trial Lawyers Win Added Clout From Democrats In Health Bill  —  The Senate health care bill includes a gift to trial lawyers: a five-year, $50 million program to encourage states to consult with them on “alternatives” to malpractice claims.  —  Though presented as a reform …
United States Senator:
Ensign, DeMint to Force Vote on Health Care Bill Unconstitutionality  —  Today, U.S. Senators Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) and John Ensign (R-Nevada), raised a Constitutional Point of Order on the Senate floor against the Democrat health care takeover bill on behalf of the Steering Committee, a caucus of conservative senators.
Reid Wilson / Hotline On Call:
Dems Lose Key Recruit  —  Businessman Jack McDonald (D) will drop out of the race against Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX) today, robbing Dems of a wealthy recruit in the race against what could be a vulnerable GOPer.  —  McDonald, the former CEO of information technology firm Perficient Inc., will cite business reasons in a statement.
Jane Hamsher / Firedoglake:
Why I Went on Fox and Friends  —  I notice there is a diary up on Daily Kos attacking me for going on Fox & Friends.  Unsurprisingly, it doesn't say what I actually said:  —  In 2000, the Republicans passed Medicare Part D, and it had no negotiation for prescription drug prices.
Greg Sargent / The Plum Line:
Top House Liberal Suggests He Could Accept Deal On Senate Bill  —  In a sign that House liberals may be bracing to swallow much of the Senate bill with minimal changes, a key House progressive suggested in an interview with me that he might be able to support a bill without a public component …
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Paul leads big  —  If there was any doubt Rand Paul is a serious candidate for the Republican Senate nomination in Kentucky it can be cast away.  Our first poll of the race finds him leading Trey Grayson 44-25.  —  Paul is, as the conventional wisdom suggests, drawing his strongest support …
Ben Armbruster / Think Progress:
After Coburn Asked Americans To Pray ‘Somebody’ Misses Health Care Vote, Inhofe Skips Today's Roll Call  —  Just before the Senate vote on the first of three procedural motions to move its health care reform bill toward final passage, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) appeared to urge Americans to pray …
Discussion: The Politico, Gothamist and Pharyngula
E.B. / Media Matters for America:
Eric Boehlert: Auld Lang Syne: Farewell to another decade of “liberal media bias”  —  It might seem futile to try to select just two quotes from the previous decade and single them out as bookends to illustrate how the political press so often malfunctioned over the last 10 years.
Discussion: Shakesville and
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 More Items: 
Ed Morrissey / Hot Air:
Sebelius: Everyone will pay into abortion-coverage fund
Erick Erickson / RedState:
BREAKING: Mitch McConnell Surrenders
Discussion: AmSpecBlog and Hot Air
B. Daniel Blatt / GayPatriot:
2010 Grande Conservative Blogress Diva Official Ballot
Peter Bergen / The New Republic:
The Battle for Tora Bora
 Earlier Items: 
Maura Flynn / Big Government:
Build-A-Climate-Scare: Why You Should Boycott Build-A-Bear
Why did Copenhagen fail to deliver a climate deal?
Discussion: The Huffington Post and Truthdig
General Backs Off on Threat to Court Martial Pregnant Soldiers
Discussion: CNN and The Political Carnival
Clyde Haberman / New York Times:
New York Ranks Last in Happiness Rating
Discussion: Gothamist, Economix and DCist
Anthony Faiola / Washington Post:
In Ireland's deep budget cuts, an omen for a heavily indebted United States?
Discussion: Beat the Press
Todd Woody / New York Times:
Desert Vistas vs. Solar Power