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9:50 AM ET, December 22, 2011


 Top Items: 
Amie Parnes / The Hill:
Obama shows he's confident he's beating GOP in payroll tax fight  —  President Obama, who has been on the losing end of several hard-fought battles with House Republicans, is showing that he thinks he's winning the latest tax fight.  —  While the White House—which has made it known …
Paul Kane / Washington Post:
House Republicans face pressure on extension of payroll tax cut  —  House Republicans faced mounting pressure Wednesday from critics inside and outside the party who worry that their standoff with President Obama over whether to extend a payroll tax cut could do lasting damage to the GOP.
Justin Sink / Ballot Box:
Payroll tax debate a juggling act for GOP presidential contenders
Discussion: The Politico
Tommy Christopher / Mediaite:
Mitt Romney bin Busted: ‘Candidate Like Myself’ Would Have Done Bin Laden Raid (Except 2007 Mitt)  —  At Christmastime, it's comforting to know that a Mitt Romney interview is the gift that keeps on giving.  On Wednesday's The Daily Rundown, host Chuck Todd drew a lot out of the candidate with his deceptively easygoing style.
The Politico:
Mitt Romney Rx: A bloody nose  —  Here is one way to look at Mitt Romney's challenge from Newt Gingrich: As one more humiliation delivered by Republican activists who have made clear over and over that they would really, really prefer to fall in love with someone, anyone, whose name is not Mitt Romney.
Christian Heinze / GOP 12:
Gingrich: Romney outsources dirty work
Mitt Romney Says ‘Yes’ To Deporting President Obama's Uncle
Romney to Gingrich: If you can't stand the heat, wait until Obama's Hell's kitchen
Discussion: The Caucus
Kate Linthicum / Los Angeles Times:
Some Occupy L.A. protesters may get a lesson in free speech  —  Prosecutors say they can avoid court trials by paying $355 to a private company for an educational program.  The irony is not lost on the anti-corporate activists, who see it as patronizing.  —  Los Angeles police officers arrest …
Discussion: cab drollery and Associated Press
CBS Los Angeles:
Mayor Calls For Budget Cuts To Offset Millions In Occupy LA Costs  —  LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The City of Los Angeles reportedly faces millions of dollars in expenses brought about by the Occupy LA movement.  —  City agencies have been ordered to calculate what was spent on the Occupy LA protests.
James Crugnale / Mediaite:
Rep. Ron Paul Gets Irked By Newsletter Questions, Walks Out Of CNN Interview  —  Ron Paul walked out of an interview with CNN's Gloria Borger following a heated exchange over the controversy regarding racist newsletters sent in his name during the 1990s.  Borger asked the Congressman if he had ever read the newsletters.
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Paul abandons interview concerning controversial newsletters
Dorothy Rabinowitz / Wall Street Journal:
What Ron Paul Thinks of America  —  It seemed improbable that the best-known American propagandist for our enemies could be near the top of the pack in the Iowa contest, but there it is.  —  Ron Paul's supporters are sure of one thing: Their candidate has always been consistent …
At least 63 killed in co-ordinated Baghdad attacks  —  Rafid Jabboori of the BBC's Arabic Service: “The worst day in 2011”  —  A wave of apparently co-ordinated bomb attacks in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, has killed at least 63 people and injured around 185, say officials.
Discussion: The Jawa Report and FP Passport
New York Times:   Explosions Rock Baghdad Amid Iraqi Political Crisis
Betsy Rothstein / FishbowlDC:
Lawmaker Says Michelle Obama Has ‘Large Posterior’  —  Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), known for his cantankerous ways and for not speaking to media unless it's his idea, was overheard at the Delta Crown lounge at Reagan National Airport today talking on his cellphone about an incident …
Betsy Rothstein / FishbowlDC:
Sensenbrenner Aide Responds to Big Butt Allegation
Daniel Jacobson / Gossip Cop:
Matt Damon Blasts Obama: “One-Term President With Balls” Would Be Better  —  Matt Damon rips President Obama in Elle magazine, blasting his leadership qualities and saying he'd prefer “a one-term president with some balls who actually got stuff done.”  —  The actor, a longtime supporter …
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
U.S. Satisfaction in 2011 Ranks as Second Lowest Since 1979  —  On average, 17% were satisfied with national conditions, ahead of only 2008's 15%  —  PRINCETON, NJ — Throughout 2011, an average of 17% of Americans said they were satisfied with the way things are going in the United States.
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis:
National Income and Product Accounts Gross Domestic Product, 3rd quarter 2011 (third estimate) Corporate Profits, 3rd quarter 2011 (revised estimate)  —  Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States …
Discussion: Business Insider and Hot Air
Floyd Norris / New York Times:
A Central Bank Doing What It Should  —  “Talk tough, and open the vaults.”  —  That should be the slogan of Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank.  —  In recent weeks, the new president publicly insisted the central bank would never do any of the things that Germany opposed.
Discussion: Via Meadia and Vox Popoli
Charlie Savage / New York Times:
$335 Million Settlement on Countrywide Lending Bias  —  The Justice Department on Wednesday announced the largest residential fair-lending settlement in history, saying that Bank of America had agreed to pay $335 million to settle allegations that its Countrywide Financial unit discriminated …
Matthew Yglesias / Slate:
Perverse Reputational Incentives In Central Banking … - “We Own Wall Street”: Spitzer Proposes a New Movement To Stop Corporate America's Worst Behavior  — The AT&T Merger Would Have Improved Mobile Service.  The DoJ Was Wrong To Kill It.  — Rachel Maddow: Here's Why MSNBC Is Not Fox News for Liberals
Discussion: TheMoneyIllusion
Jim Hoft / The Gateway Pundit:
Duh... Pelosi Calls For Tax Cut Extensions For 160,000,000 Working Americans - Too Bad There Are Only 140,500,000 Americans Working Today  —  Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters this week that 160 million Americans will have their taxes increased if the payroll tax cut extension does not pass.
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 More Items: 
Brian Beutler /
TPMDC  —  Karl Rove Concedes House GOP Blew It On Payroll Tax (VIDEO)
Discussion: Washington Monthly and Hot Air
Wall Street Journal:
Fewer Ports in a Global Storm
Discussion: FT Alphaville and Brad DeLong
Ginger Gibson / Reuters:
Newt Gingrich courting Iowa voters with judicial rants
Discussion: NewsHounds blog
 Earlier Items: 
Doug Stanglin / USA Today:
Sheriff: Stray bullet kills Amish teen 1.5 miles away
Derek Thompson / The Atlantic Online:
The Most Important Graphs of 2011  —  What is it about graphs and economics?