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10:00 AM ET, December 21, 2011

memeorandum

 Top Items: 
Wall Street Journal:
The GOP's Payroll Tax Fiasco  —  How did Republicans manage to lose the tax issue to Obama?  —  GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell famously said a year ago that his main task in the 112th Congress was to make sure that President Obama would not be re-elected.
RELATED:
Ian Swanson / The Hill:
Obama's Hawaii Christmas dilemma  —  President Obama faces a most difficult decision with the payroll tax extension up in the air, and it isn't whether to compromise with Republicans.  —  The toughest call for the president this holiday season may be whether to join his family for Christmas in Hawaii or stay in lonely Washington.
Jonathan Easley / The Hill:
McCain: Payroll-tax fight ‘harming the Republican Party’
Major Garrett / NationalJournal.com:
Congress's Payroll Standoff — Who Blinks First?
Discussion: The Mahablog, Swampland and The Hill
Associated Press:
Obama blames Republicans for upcoming tax increase
Discussion: New York Magazine and Truthdig
Brian Knowlton / New York Times:
Republicans in House Reject Deal Extending Payroll Tax Cut
Erik Wasson / The Hill:   Rep. Pelosi on Speaker Boehner: ‘He is not Lucy and we are not Charlie Brown’
Alexander Burns / The Politico:
You, sir, are no Teddy Roosevelt  —  In a speech to be delivered in Bedford, N.H., this evening, Mitt Romney will push back explicitly on Barack Obama's recent invocation of Teddy Roosevelt in a speech the president used to frame the 2012 campaign in terms of “fairness.”  Here's what Romney will say:
RELATED:
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Romney leads Obama  —  For the first time in PPP's monthly national polling since July 2010 Mitt Romney's taken a lead, albeit a small one, over Barack Obama.  He's up 47-45.  —  Romney has two main things going for him.  He leads the President 45-36 with independents.
Reid J. Epstein / The Politico:
Gary Johnson to drop out of GOP primary to run as Libertarian  —  Gary Johnson will quit the Republican primaries and seek the Libertarian Party nomination instead, POLITICO has learned.  —  The former two-term New Mexico governor, whose campaign for the GOP nomination never caught fire …
Jordan Weissmann / The Atlantic Online:
How Kim Jong Il Starved North Korea  —  What kind of disastrous economic policy results in the death by starvation of up to 3 million people in a nation with the population of Texas?  —  Reuters  —  When North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il died of a coronary this weekend after 17 years in power …
Discussion: americanthinker.com and Hit & Run
RELATED:
Scott Whitlock / NewsBusters.org:
Whoopi Goldberg: Communism Is ‘a Great Concept’ That ‘Makes Perfect Sense’ on Paper
Discussion: Doug Ross
Jason Clayworth / Iowa Caucuses:
Newt Gingrich to gay Iowan: Vote for Obama  —  Gingrich and his wife Callista at tonight's event in Oskaloosa.  (Jason Clayworth/The Register)  —  Oskaloosa, Ia.  - Newt Gingrich told a gay man and longtime resident of Oskaloosa here today that he should vote for President Obama.
Frank Newport / Gallup:
Many Americans Dissatisfied With All Presidential Candidates  —  Nearly half say there is no candidate who would make a good president  —  PRINCETON, NJ — Americans are divided when asked if there is any candidate running who they think would make a good president, with 48% saying yes …
Discussion: The Politico and National Review
Stephen Gutowski / MRCTV:
Liberals Cry About New Tom Clancy Game  —  The next iteration of Tom Clancy's blockbuster Rainbow Six series has been announced.  The series goes back over a decade and has produced some of the best shooters ever made.  However, this release, Rainbow Six: The Patriots …
Discussion: RedState and Hot Air
William Booth / Washington Post:
More Predator drones fly U.S.-Mexico border  —  CORPUS CHRISTI, Tex. — In the dead of night, from a trailer humming with surveillance monitors, a pilot for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency was remotely flying a Predator drone more than 1,000 miles away.
Discussion: ThinkProgress and The Agonist
Lee Davidson / Salt Lake Tribune:
Romney has six.  Jon Huntsman has four.  And Rick Perry has one.  —  It may not be like capturing the upcoming Iowa caucuses, but Mitt Romney at least wins among Republican presidential candidates for having the most U.S. presidents in his distant family history with six.
Discussion: The Caucus
Sheryl Gay Stolberg / New York Times:
The Long Run: Conservatives Remain Suspicious of Gingrich  —  WASHINGTON — Newt Gingrich arrived in Washington in January 1979 as a brash congressman dreaming of a Republican revival.  Not quite four years later, frustrated at the pace of change, he quietly sought counsel from a man he had once worked to defeat: Richard M. Nixon.
BBC:
South American states ban Falklands vessels from ports  —  Argentina has long claimed sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, which lie 400 miles from its coast  —  A South American trading bloc has agreed to close its ports to ships flying the Falkland Islands flag.
Discussion: The Other McCain and Biased BBC
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
Romney Tortures Jennifer Rubin  —  Romney is making life hard for his Republican Jewish fans.  —  I've written before about the agonizing plight facing Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post blogger.  On the one hand, Rubin's deepest roots lie in ultra-hawkish pro-Israel neoconservatism.
 
 
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 More Items: 
Mohamed A. El-Erian / Project Syndicate:
The New International Economic Disorder
Discussion: Business Insider
BBC:
Iraqi PM urges Kurds to hand over VP Tariq al-Hashemi
Evan McMorris-Santoro / 2012.talkingpointsmemo.com:
TPM2012  —  Newt's Campaign Comes Down To Earth As Iowan Calls Him 'F …
John Paul Rollert / Slate:
A Matter of Trusts  —  What a lonely dissent in a trusts case tells us …
Thomas Erdbrink / Washington Post:
Iranian currency drops amid jitters over regional trade
Discussion: FrumForum and The PJ Tatler
Firouz Sedarat / Reuters:
Awlaki video urges U.S. Muslims to join al Qaeda
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
David D. Kirkpatrick / New York Times:
Thousands of Women Mass in Major March in Cairo
 Earlier Items: 
Financial Times:
Strong take-up of ECB loans expected
Hillary Rodham Clinton / US Department of State:
Women, Peace, and Security
Bloomberg:
BofA Shares Fall Below $5; First Time Since 2009
Discussion: Firedoglake
Kitsepile Nyathi / Daily Nation:Breaking News …:
MP arrested for saying Mugabe is homosexual
Discussion: ThinkProgress