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1:50 PM ET, January 5, 2011


 Top Items: 
Jackie Calmes / New York Times:
Republicans Lower Goal for Cuts to Budget  —  WASHINGTON — Many people knowledgeable about the federal budget said House Republicans could not keep their campaign promise to cut $100 billion from domestic spending in a single year.  Now it appears that Republicans agree.
Anti-Nancy Pelosi vote looms  —  House Democrats are closely watching who votes against Rep. Nancy Pelosi during the floor session that officially taps the next speaker of the House — a roll call that may show some lingering anti-Pelosi sentiment among a handful of Democrats.
Carl Hulse / New York Times:
As Boehner Ascends, His Power Comes With Caveats  —  WASHINGTON — Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio is set to complete a remarkable political revival Wednesday when he becomes the 61st speaker of the House, placing him squarely at the crossroads between the desires of conservative activists …
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
HOUSE REPUBLICANS TO BREAK KEY PROMISE ON DAY 1.... When House Republican leaders unveiled their Pledge to America in September, it included a pretty striking promise to voters — if elected, the GOP majority would “roll back government spending” by “at least $100 billion in the first year alone.”
Discussion: Salon, CNN and AOL News
Michael O'Brien / The Hill:
Boehner, congressional leaders change Twitter titles in web change-of-power  —  In twin moves reflecting their new roles in the next Congress, Reps. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) modified their official handles on Twitter.  —  Pelosi, the outgoing Speaker of the House …
Michael Barone / Washington Examiner:
Wily old Dems take on whippersnapper Republicans
Discussion: Betsy's Page
Kathleen Hennessey / Los Angeles Times:
‘Tea party’ freshmen embrace status quo
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit
The Note:
‘We Will Not Rest’: Nancy Pelosi Says House Dems Will Stand …
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Jon Ward / The Daily Caller:   Democratic staff passed out a press release to reporters …
Erik Wasson / The Hill:
House Republicans back away from pledge to cut $100 billion from budget
Discussion: Yglesias and National Review
Shailagh Murray / Washington Post:
After losing House, Democrats will try new strategy: bipartisanship
Discussion: AOL News, Hot Air and Weigel
Jeff Zeleny / The Caucus:
Gibbs to Leave as White House Press Secretary  —  Updated Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary and close confidante to President Obama, said Wednesday that he will step down and become an outside political adviser to the president and his re-election campaign.
Sam Youngman / The Hill:
Howard Dean endorses Daley for chief of staff, rips White House  —  Former DNC chairman and Vermont Gov. Howard Dean said Wednesday that William Daley would be a “huge plus” for the Obama administration if he is tapped to be the president's new chief of staff.
Discussion: The Politico, Weasel Zippers and TPMDC
Michael O'Brien / The Hill:
Robert Gibbs will leave job as White House press secretary
Steve Holland / Reuters:
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs to resign
Jennifer Rubin / Right Turn:
Morning Bits  —  In other words, he drives the left batty.
Robert Pear / New York Times:
U.S. Alters Rule on Paying for End-of-Life Planning  —  WASHINGTON — The Obama administration, reversing course, will revise a Medicare regulation to delete references to end-of-life planning as part of the annual physical examinations covered under the new health care law, administration officials said Tuesday.
John R. Parkinson / ABCNEWS:
Exclusive: President Michele Bachmann?  —  Sources: Tea Party Favorite Is Mulling a Presidential Bid in 2012  —  Forget the fervent chatter speculating that Tea Party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann is considering launching a campaign to challenge Sen. Amy Klobuchar for the Minnesota U.S. Senate seat …
Tea Party leaders not swayed by Lugar meeting  —  Washington (CNN) - Hoping to head off a primary challenge from the right, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, sat down with Tea Party leaders last month but did little to persuade them of his conservative credentials.
Discussion: Ballot Box and National Review
Sean Higgins / Investor's Business Daily:
Hoyer: Tea Party People Come From Unhappy Families  —  On the eve of his demotion by voters from House Majority Leader to House Minority Whip, Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Hoyer offered this insight into the psychology of the Tea Party movement: … So, there you have it.
Discussion: Right Pundits and National Review
Warren P. Strobel / McClatchy Washington Bureau:
WikiLeaks: ‘Voluptuous’ nurse cable costs diplomat his job  —  WASHINGTON — In what appears to be the first diplomatic casualty from the latest WikiLeaks revelations, the U.S. ambassador to Libya has returned to Washington and is likely to leave his post, U.S. officials said Tuesday.
Aharding / CNN:
More signals Santorum is preparing for a White House run  —  More signals from Rick Santorum that he's gearing up for a run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.  —  A source close to the former senator from Pennsylvania confirms to CNN that later Wednesday Santorum will announced …
Discussion: The Politico and The Note
Aharding / CNN:
Gingrich and Santorum heading to South Carolina
Discussion: GOP 12
Myglesias / Yglesias:
Biting the Bullet on Majority Rule  —  Ruth Marcus says filibuster reformers should watch what we wish for: … This is the most frequent objection I hear to Senator Udall's proposal, but I don't think it makes sense.  The 113th Senate will change the rules to adopt a majority voting procedure …
Ruth Marcus / Washington Post:
Be careful what you wish for on filibusters, Democrats
Ezra Klein:
The incumbent's advantage  —  In theory, I'm the perfect customer for the Nissan Leaf.  I don't drive frequently.  I don't need a car with much space.  I never need to go farther than 100 miles at a time.  —  But the Nissan Leaf wouldn't work for me at all, as I don't own a garage …
Discussion: Slate
David Harsanyi / Denver Post:
The Constitution is dead.  Long live the Constitution.  —  Every patriotic fiber of my body tells me that reading the Constitution aloud at the commencement of congressional sessions is a good idea.  Heck, a pop quiz might even be in order.  It is vital that members of Congress fully immerse themselves …
Discussion: Cold Fury
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 More Items: 
Jason Horowitz / Washington Post:
Reading between Constitution's lines
Jacqui Cheng / Ars Technica:
Warrantless cell phone search gets a green light in California
Ed Payne / CNN:
Is Alec Baldwin interested in political office? The answer is ‘yes’
Discussion: New York Magazine
Chicago Tribune:
Don't repeal health care law
Discussion: The Reid Report and Politics Daily
The Fix:
Ten members to watch in the 112th Congress
William D. Cohan / Vanity Fair:
Huffing and Puffing  —  Reminiscent of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg …
The Huffington Post:
Fed Moves To Gut Predatory Lending Regulation
 Earlier Items: 
City Journal:
The Benefits Storm  —  Why New York can't afford enough …
Big Tent Democrat / TalkLeft:
Norquist Triumphant  —  Digby: … The problem is not the deficit sez the Beltway.
Discussion: Hullabaloo
Wall Street Journal:
Facebook Deal Spurs Inquiry
Lydia Saad / Gallup:
111th Congress Averaged 25% Approval, Among Recent Lowest
Discussion: Politics Daily and National Review