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11:55 AM ET, December 20, 2011


 Top Items: 
Jonathan Martinand Alexander Burns / The Politico:
Will Ron Paul kill the caucuses?  —  SIOUX CITY, IOWA -The alarms are sounding in Iowa.  —  Conservatives and Republican elites in the state are divided over who to support for the GOP nomination, but they almost uniformly express concern over the prospect that Ron Paul and his army …
Gary Langer / ABCNEWS:
Gingrich, Romney Go to a Tie; More See Obama as Competitive  —  Newt Gingrich has relinquished sole front-runner status almost as quickly as he gained it, landing at a dead heat with Mitt Romney in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.  And as the GOP hopefuls battle it out, ratings of Barack Obama's prospects have warmed.
Lydia Saad / Gallup:
Both Romney and Gingrich Tie Obama on 2012 Ballot  —  Negative voting more a factor against Obama than against either Republican  —  PRINCETON, NJ — Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich essentially tie President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election preferences of registered voters nationwide.
Discussion: Campaign 2012
Washington Post:
Obama's job-approval rating is highest since summer, Post-ABC poll finds
Tim Mak / The Politico:
Mitt Romney: Newt Gingrich blew it on two key issues
Discussion: CNN
CBS News:   Poll: Gingrich, Romney tied at top of GOP race
Lie of the Year 2011: ‘Republicans voted to end Medicare’  —  Republicans muscled a budget through the House of Representatives in April that they said would take an important step toward reducing the federal deficit.  Introduced by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the plan kept Medicare intact …
Paul Krugman:
Politifact, R.I.P.  —  This is really awful.  Politifact, which is supposed to police false claims in politics, has announced its Lie of the Year — and it's a statement that happens to be true, the claim that Republicans have voted to end Medicare.  —  Steve Benen in the link above explains it, but let me just repeat the basics.
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
PolitiFact ought to be ashamed of itself  —  The fact-checking website PolitiFact has announced its “Lie of the Year” for 2011.  It made a poor, credibility-killing choice. … This is simply indefensible.  Claims that are factually true shouldn't be eligible for a Lie of the Year designation.
Alicia M. Cohn / The Hill:
Schumer predicts GOP will fold in payroll fight  —  Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday predicted the GOP will fold and said Democrats should wait out the House Republicans over the payroll tax cut extension.  —  “In a few days, they will fold unless someone falls for these subterfuges …
Discussion: CNN and Weasel Zippers
Washington Post:
House Republicans intent on killing Senate payroll tax cut deal
Josh Lederman / Ballot Box:
DCCC Chair: Payroll tax cut will be defining issue in 2012
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
The Politico:
House GOP postpones payroll vote
Sam Stein / The Huffington Post:
House Republicans Pushed Two-Month Payroll Tax Holiday In January 2009
New York Times:
In Kim's Death, an Extensive Intelligence Failure  —  Televisions at an electronics store in Seoul, South Korea, featured reports on Monday about the death of Kim Jong-il, the North Korean Leader.  North Korea said Mr. Kim, 69, died on Saturday.  More Photos »
Max Abelson / Bloomberg:
Bankers Seek to Debunk ‘Imbecile’ Attack on Top 1%  —  Jamie Dimon, the highest-paid chief executive officer among the heads of the six biggest U.S. banks, turned a question at an investors' conference in New York this month into an occasion to defend wealth.
Roque Planas / NY Daily News:
Santa says 'I don't do poor countries' in new UNICEF Christmas ad  —  New ad encourages people to give gifts through the charity instead  —  A new UNICEF ad shows Santa saying, 'I don't do poor countries.'  —  Santa won't bother going to poor countries this year, so the United Nations Children's Fund …
Discussion: Don Surber and
Tim Graham /   UNICEF Turns Santa Claus Into Poor-Hating Jerk In Christmas Ad Campaign
Washington Examiner:
GOP unhappiness with field fuels buzz for Jeb Bush  —  There's no doubt some Republicans remain unhappy with the GOP presidential field.  They wish other candidates — Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush — had entered a long time ago.  But the Iowa caucuses are in two weeks.
Charles P. Pierce / Esquire:
Draft Jeb!
Terence P. Jeffrey / CNSNews:
U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Pays Homage to Obama—But Not Jesus  —  ( - The 63-foot Sierra White Fir lighted at the U.S. Capitol Grounds on Dec. 6 as the official 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree includes a prominently displayed ornament paying homage to President Barack Obama …
Mj Lee / The Politico:
It's official: Congress at record low  —  Congress is closing out a year of dismal approval ratings by sinking to a new low of 11 percent in a new Gallup poll.  —  The barely double digits job approval rating for Congress breaks the record low since Gallup first began asking the question …
Discussion: ThinkProgress
Robin Bravender / The Politico:
Industry: Light bulb war a dim idea  —  Big Business usually loves it when the GOP goes to war over federal rules.  —  But not when it comes to light bulbs.  —  This year, House Republicans made it a top priority to roll back regulations they say are too costly for business.
Jacob Sullum / Hit & Run:
Why Would Consumers Object to a Policy That Forces Them to Buy Expensive Products They Do Not Want?
Discussion: Daily Kos
International Rockstar Legend Jon Bon Jovi dead again at 49  —  Rockstar Jon Bon Jovi (John Francis Bongiovi, Jr) was pronounced dead today after paramedics found him in a coma at his Empress Hotel, city and law enforcement of Asbury Park, NJ sources told The Times after World Christmas Tour concert on
Karen DeYoung / Washington Post:
Secrecy defines Obama's drone war  —  Since September, at least 60 people have died in 14 reported CIA drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal regions.  The Obama administration has named only one of the dead, hailing the elimination of Janbaz Zadran, a top official in the Haqqani insurgent network, as a counterterrorism victory.
Ramya / YouTube Trends:
The Top Political Videos of 2011  —  From candidate ads to pundit debates, speeches from the White House to impassioned pleas from the American heartland, this year's most-viewed political videos show us that a message that resonates can come from anywhere — and anyone.
Discussion: Iowa Caucuses
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 More Items: 
New York Times:
The Middle-Class Agenda  —  Earlier this month, President Obama …
Discussion: The Huffington Post and Daily Kos
Amanda Terkel / The Huffington Post:
Denver Broncos Respond To Petition For Team To Produce ‘It Gets Better’ Video
Susie Madrak / Crooks and Liars:
Backers Are Hopeful Obama Will Support Tax On Financial Transactions
Adam Liptak / New York Times:
Among Legal Ranks, Shrugs for Gingrich's Tough Talk
David Brooks / New York Times:
The Sidney Awards, Part I
Discussion: Prairie Weather
Brendan Sasso / The Hill:
Senators urge regulator to take a hard look at Google's search tactics
Discussion: RedState
James Pethokoukis / The Enterprise Blog:
Romney's tax troubles ... with conservatives
Discussion: Political Mojo and New York Times
 Earlier Items: 
Bill Gross / Financial Times:
The ugly side of ultra-cheap money
Discussion: Paul Krugman and Business Insider
Patrick Marley / JSOnline:
Gableman voted with law firm after receiving free legal services
Discussion: First Draft
Benjamin Wittes / Lawfare:
NDAA FAQ: A Guide for the Perplexed
Dan Eggen / Washington Post:
Gingrich's sale of mailing list unlawful, watchdog group charges
Jake Tapper / ABCNEWS:
POTUS Has Coffee with Progressive Media Stars
Jay Rubenstein / The Huffington Post:
Crusade vs. Jihad: Which Is Worse?
Discussion: Lawyers, Guns & Money